Montana Rail Link owes us an explanation about derailment

Thursday, February 14, 2019

IN THE MAIL

Editor:

Montana Rail Link owes us an explanation, or at least a report or two.

Over two weeks ago, 33 coal cars derailed between Livingston and Bozeman. Coal cars were emptied of their contents near Rocky Creek. The last I heard, the cause of the derailment was still under investigation. Last September, 40 coal cars derailed in Columbus, Montana, dumping over 4,600 tons of coal near the Yellowstone River. The last I heard, the cause of that derailment was still under investigation.

We’re told not to worry about environmental damage from coal train derailments because coal is “relatively inert,” however, coal is typically sprayed with a coal dust suppressant, which prompts “water sampling” when coal dumps into/near water.

I have never seen anything about the water sampling results of either of these derailments.

Are these derailments the result of rail safety issues, speed issues, or something else? Since at least 20 trains roll right through the middle of Livingston every day, many carrying oil and other hazardous materials, I think it’s important that Montana Rail Link share information with us that, ultimately, affects the safety of our community.

Vicki Sielaff
Livingston

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