By James Rose
Lots of coal has pilled into the Columbia River. As of 8 p.m. Oct. 12, the following statement was published on the B.C. provincial government’s website:
“On the evening of Oct. 10, 2020, at approximately 11:45 p.m. MT, 17 train cars derailed and 2 train cars flipped over near the community of Edgewater. The responsible person, Canadian Pacific Railways (CPR), confirmed that the train cars were carrying coal. An unknown quantity of the spilled product has entered into the Columbia River.
Environmental contractors have been retained to undertake water sampling upstream and downstream of the impact site and to assist in mitigation measures of the incident site, including silt fencing and containment boom. Salvage and cleanup operations are ongoing.
Interior Health Authority, First Nations Health Authority and local First Nations have been notified of the incident.
An Environmental Emergency Response Officer (EERO) with the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy is continuing to work closely with partners to monitor the incident. Further updates will be provided as more information becomes available.”
When reached, the government declined to comment. “During the interregnum period of an election, all Government of B.C. communications are limited to immediate health and public safety information, as well as statutory requirements. We can direct you to information already publicly available,” emailed David Karn of the Ministry of the Environment in Victoria.
CPR claims to have immediately dispatched crews and emergency response contractors to the site. “There were no injuries to the crew,” said Salem Woodrow, Manager, Media Relations and Community Affairs. CPR reopened the rail line the morning of Oct. 12 after all repairs were made, and safety inspections were conducted. “The incident is under investigation,” said Ms. Woodrow. Woodrow declined to respond to further questioning with regards to how the derailment occurred and why.