Late last week, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe spent a few hours in Lynchburg, including a tour by helicopter. He was there to get an aerial perspective of the site of the oil train derailment that occurred here April 30.
While he was there, he announced the creation of Virginia’s Railroad Safety and Security Task Force. The governor said that the April 30 wreck raises many vital public safety and health issues. He added that it was fortunate that no one was injured, but it still is important to determine what caused the train derailment to protect the families of Virginia. The Railroad Safety and Security Task Force should help to ensure that the state is a leader in the US in preventing, preparing for and responding to railroad accidents.
New task force will enforce new rules to prevent oil tanker train accidents.
McAuliffe thanked the emergency personnel who responded to the oil train derailment, which led to an evacuation of large parts of downtown Lynchburg.
The governor noted that he will work hard in the coming years to keep citizens safe and to protect the state’s water resources, including the James River. Some of the derailed cars were dumped into that river.
McAuliffe stated that the drinking water in Virginia is still safe, but the train accident is a grim reminder that these sorts of accident still do happen. And everyone in the state and in the state government needs to do everything that they can to ensure these types of accidents happen as little as possible.
Last week, the governor wrote a letter to the US Sec. of Transportation Anthony Foxx to highlight his support to improve federal rules for rail car safety, particularly those carrying crude oil.