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EPA Orders CSX to Clean Up Derailment Mess

(CN) - The Environmental Protection Agency order CSX Transportation to clean-up and restore the areas affected by the Feb. 16 train derailment in Mt. Carbon, W. Va.

Twenty-seven cars derailed from the 109-car CSX train carrying more than three million gallons of crude oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota, the agency said.

The derailment resulted in an explosion, fires, loss of a house and required nearby residents to evacuate.

In issuing its order, the EPA acknowledge that CSX, one of the nation's largest railroads, has committed significant resources to respond to the derailment, and has worked closely with local, state and federal agencies at the scene.

Now, the agency says, the railroad must develop and submit a comprehensive plan for all the areas affected by the derailment, including short- and long-term cleanup and restoration initiatives.

The order calls on CSX to continue air and water monitoring that is already underway; to contain and recover oil on Armstrong Creek, the Kanawha River and their tributaries and the adjoining shorelines; to regularly inspect the boom located along the river to capture the residual oily water as ice continues to melt; to maintain the integrity of the metal sheet pile wall that creates a barrier between the rail line and the Kanawha River; and to educate area residents about the potential effects from the incident including potential health threats, protective measures, wildlife preservation, and claims and notification procedures.

CSX must also continue to report to EPA and West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection on progress and compliance with the approved plan.

In a statement accompanying the order, the EPA said the response to the derailment was affected by harsh winter weather conditions at the time and immediately following the mishap.

Area residents were able to return to their homes in six days after being evacuated, the agency said.

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