Another train derails, spilling diesel on Washington tribal reservation

On March 2, the main road from Pennsylvania into East Palestine, Ohio, is closed while workers clean up the site of a Feb. 3 train derailment. (Rebecca Kiger for The Washington Post)
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A train derailed and spilled diesel fuel on tribal land in Washington, state officials said Thursday.

The BNSF train derailed on the Swinomish Reservation in Anacortes, Wash., around midnight. Though it occurred next to a bay, the spill did not appear to have affected water or wildlife, the Washington Department of Ecology said Thursday afternoon. Crews installed a boom on the shoreline to contain potential pollution and were emptying and removing rail cars.

State officials said up to 2,500 gallons of diesel may have spilled, though a BNSF spokesperson said a “minimal amount” had leaked. The state originally said that about 5,000 gallons had spilled, an incorrect estimate that a spokesperson told The Washington Post had been based on the size of the tankers.

“BNSF will be able to measure the remaining fuel in the locomotive once it is in a safe location, and we will update information as it’s available,” Washington Department of Ecology spokesperson Scarlet Tang told The Post.

Hours before, another BNSF train carrying corn syrup derailed near Topock, Ariz., close to the California border, briefly causing alarm after local authorities said it might contain hazardous chemicals. There were no injuries, but the incident closed the train tracks, according to local news reports.

The causes of both derailments are under investigation as personnel worked to clear the areas, said BNSF spokesperson Lena Kent.