The fiery train derailment just over a month ago in Lynchburg has prompted a statewide conversation about how to make transporting hazardous materials through our cities and towns safer.
Monday afternoon, at a rail safety meeting hosted by Senator Mark Warner in Richmond, no clear answer emerged on how to address the problem of transporting hazardous materials. But Warner says he'll take all of the ideas heard and bring them back to Washington in hopes of preventing another disaster.
"It's great news that we have more American energy supply and that we're importing less foreign crude, but with this benefit comes these additional risks and challenges and it's our job to get it right,” Warner said.
The problem is, while leaders offered plenty of options Monday, there's no clear path to achieving safety. Should Virginians push for more regulation, beef up training for emergency responders, or pressure oil producers and manufacturers for more open communication?
The National Transportation Safety Board continues investigating the cause of the 17-car derailment in Lynchburg on April 30, so at this point leaders had a hard time narrowing the focus of the meeting. Although Warner brought up competing interests among stakeholders, railroad representatives say they are all on the same page.
"Our goal at CSX, and I think most of the public officials would agree, is a goal of absolutely zero preventable accidents,” said Bryan Rhode, CSX regional vice president for state government affairs.