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Enforcement

CSX Transportation, Inc. Settlement Information Sheet

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and State of West Virginia announced a settlement with CSX Transportation, Inc. to resolve its liability for state and federal water pollution violations related to a 2015 train derailment and oil spill in Mount Carbon, West Virginia. Under the terms of the settlement, CSX Transportation, Inc. will help improve surface water quality in the area impacted by the oil spill through a contribution of $500,000 to a state-administered fund to upgrade a water treatment facility in Fayette County, West Virginia. CSX Transportation, Inc. will also pay penalties of $1.2 million to the U.S. and $1 million to West Virginia. 

Overview of Company

CSX Transportation, Inc. is a Virginia corporation that is headquartered in Florida. The company maintains a fleet of more than 4,000 locomotives and 70,000 freight cars. Its 21,000-mile rail network traverses 23 states, the District of Columbia, and Quebec and Ontario, Canada.

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Violations

The complaint seeks civil penalties for violations of Section 311 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), as well as related state claims under the West Virginia Water Pollution Control Act, the West Virginia Groundwater Protection Act, and related state rules.

On February 16, 2015, a CSX Transportation, Inc. train derailed in Mount Carbon, West Virginia, spilling Bakken Formation crude oil into the waters of the Armstrong Creek and the Kanawha River and onto their adjoining shorelines. Approximately twenty-seven railcars, each containing around 29,000 gallons of oil, derailed and about twenty railcars caught fire. A nearby residential house and garage was destroyed, and nearby neighborhoods had to be evacuated. The Governor of West Virginia declared a state of emergency. West Virginia American Water Company shut down its water intake in the area, affecting thousands of customers, and the Kanawha River was temporarily closed to maritime traffic.

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Health Effects and Environmental Benefits

CSX Transportation, Inc. will fund a state Supplemental Environmental Project to improve local infrastructure for residents of Fayette County, West Virginia, including the community of Mount Carbon. Under the consent decree, West Virginia will use CSX Transportation, Inc. funds to upgrade a wastewater treatment facility with an outfall upstream of the location the derailment. The upgrades are expected to improve surface water quality in the Kanawha River, including the portion of the river affected by the derailment.

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Civil Penalty

CSX Transportation, Inc. will pay a $1,200,000 federal civil penalty to the United States, which will be paid to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, and will a pay $1,000,000 civil penalty to West Virginia. The company will also pay $500,000 into a state-controlled escrow account for the state Supplemental Environmental Project.

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State Partner

The State of West Virginia, acting through the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, will join as a co-plaintiff and will bring its own parallel claims under West Virginia state law and rules promulgated thereunder.

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Comment Period

The proposed settlement, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. Information on submitting comment is available at the Department of Justice website.

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Contact Information

Erin Grisby
Attorney-Advisor
Water Enforcement Division
Office of Civil Enforcement
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-3701
grisby.erin@epa.gov

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