CSX to Pay $2.2 Million in Penalties for Derailment, Oil Spill

The federal government and state of West Virginia this week announced a proposed settlement that calls for CSX to pay $2.2 million in penalties for water pollution violations related to a 2015 train derailment and subsequent oil spill.

Under the proposed terms, CSX will pay penalties of $1.2 million to the United States and $1 million to West Virginia, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Separately, in a state negotiated agreement, CSX will pay $500,000 to a state-administered fund to upgrade a water treatment facility in Fayette County, West Virginia.

The federal agencies involved in the case were the EPA and Department of Justice (DOJ).

“The 2015 CSX train derailment in Mount Carbon, West Virginia, caused significant damage and disruption to that community,” said EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Assistant Administrator Susan Bodine. “Through this settlement, EPA, DOJ and the state of West Virginia are holding CSX Transportation accountable for these consequences.”

CSX officials declined to comment on the proposed settlement.

On Feb. 16, 2015, a CSX train with 109 rail cars carrying crude oil derailed in Mount Carbon, West Virginia. Twenty-seven cars carrying 29,000 gallons of Bakken crude oil derailed. About half of the cars ignited.

The resulting explosions and fires destroyed an adjacent home and garage. A local state of emergency was declared, nearby water intakes were shut down and area residents were evacuated.

Some of the oil discharged during and following the train derailment flowed into the Kanawha River and Armstrong Creek.

The settlement imposes “serious fines” under the federal Clean Water Act, said U.S. Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Wood for the DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

“When accidents happen and public health or the environment is harmed, the Justice Department will respond with strong action in close coordination with our federal and state partners,” Wood said.

The proposed settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.   To view the consent decree or to submit a comment, click here.