In just over a year, North America has seen a dozen serious accidents involving trains that derailed while carrying flammable crude oil. One of those accidents, in Lynchburg, caused a massive fire and oil spill. In most cases, fire departments didn’t know what they were dealing with, since railroads have kept that information secret, but the federal government is now requiring them to inform states when trains of 35 cars or more, carrying oil from North Dakota or Montana, are coming through.
A broad bipartisan and bicameral consensus at the General Assembly may not create sensational headlines—but such agreements do occur. In Part One of our series on new state laws that take effect this week.
Lawmakers in both parties and Governor McAuliffe made it a priority to cut the number of SOL tests and revise their focus. Early grades will now focus more on reading and math tests. Delegate Tag Greason sponsored a law to limit assessments in third through eighth grades.
Within hours of a rail crash in Lynchburg on April 30, inspectors for the state and federal governments and CSX were on the scene – trying to figure out why 17 cars derailed and one ruptured – producing flames, smoke and a significant oil spill.
Getting official answers could take 18 months, but there are clues that suggest a cause for the accident and a future course of action to improve rail safety.
Animal rights activists rallied Sunday at the Natural Bridge Zoo-- an attraction that boasts the most complete collection of animals in Virginia. The Humane Society of the United States has a different description of the zoo, and federal officials say it's now under investigation.
Two Virginia Democrats are teaming up with two Virginia Republicans in a rare bipartisan hearing into how to combat sea level rise along the eastern shore.
Most Republicans in Congress are dubious of climate scientists who claim humans are heating the planet. Take Virginia Congressman Scott Rigell. He represents a purple district encompassing all of Virginia Beach. He’s won twice running as an open-minded pragmatist. Unlike moderates elsewhere, Rigell remains dubious of human’s impact on the climate.
For decades Americans have worried about our dependence on foreign oil and gas. By 2005 we were importing 60% of our energy, but in 2008 a new technology called horizontal hydrologic fracturing or “fracking” raised the promise of energy independence.
U.S. crude production is up 50% and imports have fallen 35%. But getting oil from a massive shale deposit in North Dakota to refineries is raising serious concerns about public safety.