CSX ponies up half-million for dead fish

John O'Brien Apr. 8, 2008, 4:27pm


MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Facing the threat of a lawsuit, CSX Corp. agreed Monday to pay nearly $500,000 to the State of Alabama.

State Attorney General Troy King said the derailment of one of its railroad cars harmed nearby wildlife. CSX will pay $491,976 to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

"This settlement will help the Department of Conversation continue to carry out its important work to promote and defend the natural resources of our beautiful state of Alabama," King said.

In May 2006, one of CSX's cars derailed and spilled soybean into Little Creek, which flows into Yellow Leaf Creek. Fish, mussels and snails were killed as a result, and King demanded compensation from the company.

"Alabama has one of the most diverse populations of aquatic life in North America. This settlement money will be used by the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division to support future investigations of aquatic species loss," Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner M. Barnett Lawley said.

"The Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center in Perry County will also receive a portion of this money to support propagation and stocking effort of freshwater species such as mussels and snails which help to restore cleaner waters in Alabama's rivers, lakes and streams."

CSX admitted it did not report the spill soon enough, waiting three days, and said the soybean grain resulted in only a "minor" fish kill, according to the Shelby County Reporter.

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