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(Reuters) - A CSX Corp train carrying crude oil derailed and burst into flames in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia on Wednesday, spilling oil into the James River and forcing hundreds to evacuate.
In its second oil-train accident this year, CSX said 15 cars on a train traveling from Chicago to Virginia derailed at 2:30 p.m. EDT. Photos and video showed high flames and a large plume of black smoke. Officials said there were no injuries, but 300-350 people were evacuated in a half-mile radius.
City officials instructed motorists and pedestrians to stay away from downtown, while firefighters battled the blaze. Three railcars were still on fire as of 4 p.m., CSX said.
Kinder Morgan has managed to find a silver lining in oil slicks: they could create jobs.
That's according to a 15,000 page application Kinder Morgan has submitted to the National Energy Board for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (a document so large that it "stands over two metres tall and fills 37 binders").
In a section of the application dedicated to the risks and effects associated with oil tanker traffic and the possibility of oil spills, Kinder Morgan finds that "spills can have both positive and negative effects." In particular, "spill response and clean-up creates business and employment opportunities for affected communities, regions, and clean-up service providers."
With more trains hauling crude and flammable liquids across North America, U.S. regulators are expected soon to propose new rules for more robust tank cars to replace older models; Canadian authorities did so last week.
"With this event, regulators could try to expedite the process, and they'll likely err on the side of the more costly safety requirements in order to reduce the risk of these accidents in the future," said Michael Cohen, vice president for research at Barclays in New York.
Tougher rules could drive up costs for firms that lease tank cars and ship oil from the remote Bakken shale of North Dakota, which relies heavily on trains. It could also boost business for companies that manufacture new cars, such as Greenbrier Companies and Trinity Industries.