2007-02-03 / Front Page

Trout stocking will resume next month in sections of the Driftwood Branch and Sinnemahoning Creek. Meanwhile, clean-up continues at the site of the Norfolk Southern train crash of last June. This rail car was flung into the woods several hundred yards shy of the derailment that resulted in a lye spill that polluted a large section of the Sinnemahoning River. Trout stocking will resume next month in sections of the Driftwood Branch and Sinnemahoning Creek. Meanwhile, clean-up continues at the site of the Norfolk Southern train crash of last June. This rail car was flung into the woods several hundred yards shy of the derailment that resulted in a lye spill that polluted a large section of the Sinnemahoning River. Norfolk Southern Railroad may soon face criminal charges stemming from last June's train derailment and lye spill near the Cameron/ McKean County border.

A lengthy criminal investigation conducted by the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission is winding down, with results to be assessed by McKean County District Attorney John Pavlock. Neither the agency nor Pavlock will comment further on the case. Norfolk Southern is also mum.

The Fish and Boat Commission's long-awaited technical report will contain detailed information about the loss of aquatic life and a calculation of the loss of recreational value. Physical evidence has already been delivered to Pavlock, who has conferred with Cameron County D.A. Tommy Tompkins.

About 42,000 gallons of sodium hydroxide spilled when three tank cars ruptured, killing all fish and aquatic life in Big Fill Run and down through 7.5 miles of Sinnemahoning- Portage Creek in Cameron County. The spill also killed many fish in more than 25 miles of Sinnemahoning Creek and its Driftwood Branch.

In a separate action, the Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection has charged Norfolk Southern with violating numerous environmental regulations, and is seeking civil penalties totaling $8.89 million, plus daily penalties for ongoing discharges. Norfolk Southern has appealed to the state Environmental Hearing Board.

The company is continuing soil removal and remediation at the derailment site, while contaminants continue to leach into Sinnemahoning Portage Creek.

Meanwhile, the Fish and Boat Commission has announced that it will restock trout in sections of the Driftwood Branch and Sinnemahoning Creek. No decision has been reached on whether to conduct "seed stockings" to help Sinnemahoning Portage Creek return to its status as a wild, naturally reproducing trout fishery.

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