These are seemingly becoming a common occurrence, train derailments. Thursday morning a train derailed outside of Anacortes in Skagit County on the Swinomish Reservation. The Washington State Department of Ecology tweeted at 6 am that the ecology and the Marine Spill Response Corporation were responding to the scene.
“We have people out checking the channel and there’s been no sheen on the channel. There is no impacts to fish or wildlife,” said Mike Sibley of the EPA. Most of the spill occurred in the landslide, and crews are working to remove contaminated soil before replacing it with fresh soil.
A BNSF spokesperson confirmed the derailment. Initially, the Washington State Department of Ecology estimated about 5,000 gallons of diesel spilled. During a 1:25 pm press conference, however, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said that figure was closer to 2,500 gallons.
Sen. Maria Cantwell yesterday announced that on Wednesday, March 22, the Commerce Committee will be holding a hearing on rail safety. This was before this recent incident.
“Today’s train derailment in Skagit County is a reminder that we have more work to do to keep our nation’s rail system, communities, rail workers, and environment safe. I am seeking additional information about this accident and will continue working to improve rail safety and protect our people, Tribes, and the Salish Sea ecosystem”, said Sen. Cantwell.
The cause of Thursday’s derailment remains under investigation. “Remaining fuel has been pumped from 2 derailed engines,” Ecology tweeted. “Four tank cars remained upright & already removed. Responders lined shoreline w/ boom as a precaution to contain pollution.”
This is a developing story, check back for updates as more details are available.