LASALLE, Colo. — Crews from Union Pacific Railroad worked to clear a six-car oil train derailment that leaked some crude into a ditch today in northern Colorado.
State and local emergency officials determined that one car of the 100-car train was leaking after the 8 a.m. derailment near LaSalle, about 45 miles north of Denver.
The cause of the derailment was under investigation, said Micki Trost, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Division of Emergency Management. Crews had contained the spill to a ditch away from any waterways, Trost said.
The amount of oil spilled wasn’t immediately known, but a vacuum truck was brought in to suck up the spill. Tanker trucks lined up nearby to transfer the oil.
According to The Greeley Tribune, the train was loaded in nearby Windsor with Niobrara crude and was bound for New York. Niobrara oil comes from the Niobrara shale formation in Colorado, Wyoming and Kansas. It’s not considered as volatile as Bakken crude from North Dakota and eastern Montana.
Public and political pressure to make oil trains safer began last summer when a runaway oil train carrying Bakken crude derailed and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killing 47 people and incinerating much of the town. Other trains carrying Bakken crude have derailed and caught fire since then in Alabama, North Dakota, Virginia and New Brunswick, Canada.