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District, CSX Enter Proposed Settlement on Anacostia Oil Spill

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Media Contact: Alan Heymann (202) 741-2136

Washington, DC – CSX Transportation has agreed to pay $660,561.69 in a proposed settlement with the District Government. The agreement stems from a November 9, 2007 incident in which six CSX railcars, containing an estimated 600 tons of coal, fell into the Anacostia River.

“We’re very serious about keeping our waterways clean,” said Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. “This settlement reflects that. At the same time, I want to thank CSX for doing the right thing in making sure an unfortunate incident didn’t become an environmental disaster.”

After the coal spill, CSX immediately began a cleanup process directed by the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) and assisted by various federal agencies, in particular, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.  CSX and DDOE monitored water quality on a daily basis. Cleanup and environmental protection efforts concluded in March 2008.

“CSX responded quickly, responsibly and thoroughly to the November 9, 2007, incident,” said Carl Gerhardstein, CSXT’s Director-Environmental Systems. "We appreciate the cooperation of all of the federal and District agencies that responded to the incident.  The railroad believes it was important to resolve the outstanding concerns of the District in a timely fashion. The settlement of these issues is particularly important in that it will further the efforts to protect the Anacostia River, a popular resource for the District and the region.”

Per the proposed settlement, CSX will pay the District a civil penalty of $50,000, reimburse the District $60,561.59 for response costs, contribute $50,000 toward a natural resources restoration project, and contribute $500,000 to create an Anacostia River Endowment Fund.

“Because of the efforts of everyone involved, the Anacostia River is now in better shape than it was before the spill,” said DDOE Director George S. Hawkins. “We’ve turned a crisis into a real opportunity. I also want to thank the Anacostia Watershed Society for providing essential data during the cleanup process.”

The proposed consent decree is open for public comment until October 14, and is available here.*

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