Alexandria doesn’t "heart" Norfolk Southern

Road-TrainIf you, like me, are a resident of the City of Alexandria City, you may have noticed a terse letter from Mayor Euille in the Alexandria news bulletin that arrived in your mailbox last week.  The Norfolk Southern Railroad has established an ethanol transloading facility at its yard in the West End neighborhood.  Now, apparently they own the facility and have gotten the National Surface Transportation Board to override at least some local ordinances.  The City Manager and City Attorney have admitted that communication (internal and external) was badly handled and the City Council has opened up their records and documents for public inspection.

In short, the City folks are displeased about this facility!  It is apparently located thisclose to an elementary school, and is also near the Beltway and the Blue line.

NSRR has bought some fire equipment for the City, including providing a quantity of the special foam that would be needed in the event of a fire, and conducted some training for Alexandria FD.  They’ve also agreed to certain time restrictions on the number of trucks coming and going from the facility.  I’m not sure what to think, myself.  I wonder how much of this issue stems from NIMBY-ism?  Did the railroad really just unilaterally plop an ethanol facility 600 feet from an elementary school and think no one would notice?   How real is the security concern? (IMO, not very, but then I am quite jaded about “security” these days.)  How real is the risk of fire or explosion?  We have all seen enough news reports of chemical factory or fuel dump explosions – with horrific effects – to worry about it, even though the probability may be incredibly low.

In any event — Alexandria has put together a website where you can read documents and correspondence, or look at a map of the facility and its neighborhood.  What’s your opinion — should we be concerned?

1 Comment so far

  1. edthered on July 15th, 2008 @ 9:41 am

    You must not have been living in Alexandria very long, or you’d know the following:
    1) it’s the City of Alexandria, not Alexandria City
    2) it’s got *everything* to do with NIMBY-ism

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