Train Derailments Fuel Debate Over Transporting Coal
County crews and CSX officials continue the investigation in the derailment of a CSX coal train in Ellicott City, Maryland | Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun/MCT Read more here: mcclatchydc.com
A string of derailments of trains carrying coal has galvanized opponents of new coal export terminals in the Pacific Northwest, who are concerned that more traffic in their communities would compromise health, the environment and public safety.
Early Tuesday, a CSX coal train turned over on its side in Ellicott City, Md., near Baltimore. Two college students were killed, and the accident closed roads and businesses.
Last month, a Union Pacific coal train derailed on a highway overpass near Chicago, killing two people in a car on the road below. Recent derailments of coal trains in Washington state and Texas resulted in no fatalities, but they added to the debate over transporting coal.
Coal isn’t classified as a hazardous material, and railroads have been shipping it from mines to ports and power plants for decades, mostly without incident. But some communities have decided they don’t want mile-and-a-half long coal trains lumbering through their backyards and they have vocal allies in environmental groups.