Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has created the Commonwealth’s Rail Safety & Security Task Force following a train derailment and oil spill in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia, on April 30, 2014. At least 30,000 gallons of crude oil burned or spilled into the James River when a CSX freight train carrying crude oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to a refinery in Yorktown, Virginia, went off the track. Seventeen cars derailed and three landed in the James River, but nobody was hurt.
The task force will be co-chaired by Secretary of Public Safety & Homeland Security Brian J. Moran and Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Lane, and will include representatives from the Virginia Department of Rail & Public Transportation, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Emergency Management, the Department of Fire Programs, the State Corporation Commission, the Department of Transportation, and the State Police. After seeking input from industry stakeholders, local governments, and members of the public, the task force will issue a report of recommended state and federal actions to both prevent railroad accidents and prepare communities for the possibility of a future incident.
“This task force is an important step toward ensuring that Virginia is doing everything it can to keep our railroads and the communities around them safe, and that we are prepared to respond to incidents like the derailment and fire in Lynchburg earlier this month,” said Governor McAuliffe. “I have asked Secretaries Moran and Layne to bring our public safety, transportation and environmental protection agencies together to investigate what happened in Lynchburg and make recommendations of how Virginia can work with the federal government to keep our communities and our natural resources as safe as possible.”