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Norfolk Southern

Hon. John Warner
U.S. Senate
225 Russell Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Hon. James Webb
U.S. Senate
144 Russell Building
Washington, DC 20510
Hon. James Moran
U.S. House of Representatives
2239 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
City Council
301 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

This page contains references and links to all electronic communications among City staff, and between City staff, Norfolk Southern, and the community regarding the establishment and operation of the Ethanol Transloading Facility. The communications, furnished in response to requests made under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, cover the period from June 20, 2006 at 8 a.m. to May 29, 2008, at 5 p.m.

E-mail addresses and telephone numbers have been redacted to protect the privacy of residents and of City staff whose home and mobile phone numbers were included on the communications. To contact City officials or staff, please use the links on the left side of this page, or Contact Us.

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FW: Let's Blow Up the West End

  • To: <Mayor Euille>, <>, <Rob Krupicka>, <Timothy Lovain>, <Del Pepper>, <Paul Smedberg>, <text converted to image to prevent junkmail harvesting>
  • Subject: FW: Let's Blow Up the West End
  • From: "Impastato, Arthur" <>
  • Date: Fri, 23 May 2008 10:55:29 -0400
  • Cc: "Ingrid Sanden" <>, "J Bennett" <>, "Donna Fossum" <>, <>, <>, <text converted to image to prevent junkmail harvesting>, <text converted to image to prevent junkmail harvesting>, "Geoffrey Goodale" <>, <>, <>
  • Thread-index: Aci85QjBThEKCoSTRcCj63b5BvjVPw==
  • Thread-topic: Let's Blow Up the West End

Dear Mayor & City Council:

It has recently come to my attention that, with zero public input, the
City has seen fit to jeopardize the safety and well being of its
citizens by secretly conducting negotiations with Norfolk Southern to
allow them to conduct, according to the attached  May 15, 2008 memo from
Mr. Hartmann,  "operation of an ethanol transloading terminal at their
Van Dorn Intermodal Facility located behind the Waste to Energy plant." 

Did any of you think to do a Google search or stop to think that ethanol
is a fuel and goes "boom" when ignited? If you had done a Google search,
you'd have found the attached article which discusses a derailment by
Norfolk Southern of ethanol-hauling tankers, the resulting hazardous
pollution spilled into water and the need for a massive evacuation of
residents. Do we want to have a similar headline in the Post? This
facility is near the Waste-to-Energy plant and not far from Virginia
Paving and the lovely waste oil recycling plant located on its grounds.
Can you imagine what would happen if spilled ethanol were to ignite near
these three facilities -- just do a Google search with the terms
"ethanol explosion" and you'll get a good idea.

I know that the Hartmann memo states that "[s]afety is of the utmost
concern to the City" and that "we are opposed to and have concerns about
this type of facility," but how did we end up where we have if that is
true? I am truly amazed that something like this could be done without
citizen input and I hope the City will explore every means of stopping
this proposal or, at a minimum, curtailing operations through creative
use of nuisance laws and by any other available means (e.g. getting VA
DEQ, EPA and Congressman Moran and Senators Webb and Warner involved and
enforcing or adopting stringent fire and safety regulations that would
make the proposal financially unattractive). 

In short, this is obviously not something consistent with open
government, redevelopment of the West End and Landmark, reducing traffic
(particularly truck traffic) in the West End or public safety. I know
each and every one of you and know you can do better than this so lets
not cave in to Norfolk Southern and show some backbone like you have
when dealing with Mirant. 

Respectfully submitted,

Arthur A. Impastato
239 Medlock Lane
Alexandria, Virginia 22304 
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Title: Daily Update: DEP Issues Violation Notice to Norfolk Southern for Beaver County Train Derailment
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DEP Issues Violation Notice to Norfolk Southern for Beaver County Train Derailment
PITTSBURGH (Oct. 26) -- The Department of Environmental Protection today issued a notice of violation to Norfolk Southern for spills related to a fiery 23-car train derailment that scattered ethanol-hauling tankers into the Beaver River and along its banks last week in New Brighton, Beaver County.

“While the company responded promptly to mitigate the effects of the derailment, the discharge of ethanol into the river is a violation of the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law,” DEP Southwest Regional Director Ken Bowman said. “The company is on notice and must continue the cleanup of the material from the riverbanks and Big Rock Park area.”

A notice of violation is a formal decree that informs the company that its actions violated certain state environmental regulations. It is not a penalty assessment.

The accident resulted in the evacuation of some 150 residents in New Brighton and Beaver Falls as tanker cars burned over the entire weekend. The derailment occurred late Friday night, and the evacuation notice was lifted at noon Monday.

All of the damaged cars have been removed from the track, which has reopened, and hauled from the river. They are being stored and processed in New Brighton’s Big Rock Park. Norfolk Southern is inspecting all of the tankers to ensure each is empty before dismantling the cars for transport and disposal.

Throughout the accident response, DEP staff took several water samples of the Beaver River and collected samples near the intakes for the Midland Water Authority as well as inside its water treatment plant.

Preliminary sample results show evidence of ethanol and its additives in the Beaver River within 500 yards downstream of the spill site on the New Brighton side of the river. Samples results confirmed no problems with the area’s water supplies.

Norfolk Southern is conducting an environmental assessment to determine the scope and extent of soil and groundwater contamination at the crash site and any required cleanup. Work continues on the collection of ethanol seeps from the bridge abutment area of the crash site.

Various agencies responded to the accident, including DEP, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Pennsylvania State Police and the state Department of Transportation. Members of the Civil Air Patrol, which was on a training exercise in Westmoreland County, conducted overflights of the scene to provide photos and aid in site assessment.

For more information, visit DEP’s Web site at

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Protection
DEP Press Office Contact: Susan Rickens, Editor
P.O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063
All Rights Reserved

Attachment: norfolksoutherntransloading.pdf
Description: norfolksoutherntransloading.pdf