Alabama A.G. Announces Settlement Over Soybean Spill

Attorney General Troy King today announced a settlement agreement has resulted in a payment by CSX Corporation of $491,976 to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for losses related to a May 2006 train derailment in Shelby County.

"I am pleased that we were able to reach this agreement without having to file a lawsuit, and that CSX cooperated to resolve this matter in a responsible manner," said Attorney General King. "This settlement will help the Department of Conservation continue to carry out its important work to promote and defend the natural resources of our beautiful state of Alabama."

The derailment of a railroad car caused a soybean spill into Little Creek, which flows into Yellow Leaf Creek, resulting in the destruction of aquatic life including several species of fish, mussels and snails. On behalf of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Attorney General King's office sent a demand letter to CSX seeking compensation, and leading to the agreement announced today. The money goes to the Department's Fisheries and Wildlife Division to compensate for the investigation and value of the lost aquatic life.

"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," said Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner M. Barnett Lawley. "The Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center in Perry County will also receive a portion of this money to support propagation and stocking efforts of freshwater species such as mussels and snails which help to restore cleaner waters in Alabama's rivers, lakes, and streams."

"This settlement concludes months of investigation and analysis by biologists with Alabama's Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service into the losses of fish, mussels and aquatic snails in Yellow Leaf Creek of Shelby County as a result of a train derailment," said Chief of the Freshwater Fisheries Section Stan Cook. "Monetary damages for this state public resource loss will be invested into the conservation, protection and enhancement of Alabama's aquatic resources."

Attorney General King commended those involved in reaching a successful conclusion to compensate the State of Alabama for its losses, noting in particular Assistant Attorneys General Bill Little, formerly of the Attorney General's Environmental Division, and Robert Tambling, chief of the Environmental Division; Assistant Attorneys General Jim Goodwyn and Will Gunter of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; and Stan Cook, chief of the Freshwater Fisheries Section.

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