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Friday Question of the Day – Despite Neighborhood Concerns, Do You Think CSX Will be Allowed to Transport Hazardous Materials through Navy Yard/Capitol Hill?

by Prince Of Petworth December 5, 2013 at 10:22 pm 66 Comments

Yesterday The Inside Story Of The Plan To Send Hazardous Materials Straight Through The Heart Of D.C. was published:

“In the nation’s capital, commuter rails run underground and freight trains rarely stop so the risk of a serious hazmat incident due to a derailment is relatively low.

But that risk would significantly increase under a proposal by CSX which is currently being considered by the U.S. and D.C. Departments of Transportation. If approved, the company would dig a massive trench, and uncovered freight trains would carry crude oil and other hazardous materials in the open, less than 50 feet from the homes of families, children, and seniors and less than one mile from the U.S. Capitol building. A residential tree-lined block would be bowled over, dug out, fenced in, and would stay that way for at least five years.

The proposed open trench is part of a larger effort by CSX to reconstruct the Virginia Avenue Tunnel (VAT), an underground freight rail that extends from 2nd to 11th street in the historic Capitol Hill and Navy Yard neighborhoods of southeast D.C.”

You can read the full story here.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s office writes:

“Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, today wrote Representative Tom Petri (R-WI), Chairman or the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, requesting a subcommittee hearing on the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project. Norton said that while the tunnel affects her constituents, federal issues also are involved because the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is the lead federal agency in the project. In her letter, Norton said, ”Although the project is an important component of the nation’s effort to add and update space for freight infrastructure, I do not believe there have been any oversight hearings.” Citing a meeting she held in the Capitol Quarter community in November, the Norton letter pointed to some of the outstanding issues involved in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) such as noise, air quality, and construction near homes and senior housing.

Norton’s community meeting heard presentations from CSX, FWHA, the D.C Department of Transportation, and questions and remarks from community residents. Norton said that at the meeting she and the community learned some information for the first time, but it became clear that many issues need federal oversight, including a proposed open trench during construction close to homes and senior housing, trains carrying hazardous material, rerouting during construction, and the experience of other districts where CSX has done similar work.”

Do you guys think CSX will be allowed to do this or do you think the neighborhood will be able to rally enough support to stop it?

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