A coal train operated by National Coal Corporation overturned on Friday, January 9, 2009, spilling approximately 1100 tons of coal next to the New River in Scott County, Tennessee, according to the Alliance for Appalachia. Eight rail cars, which typically hold 120 tons of coal, were involved, according to the Alliance.
The contamination was discovered on Monday, January 12, 2009 by Steve Bakaletz, a Wildlife Biologist with the National Park Service at the Big South Fork (BSF) Recreation Area’s Oneida Office, according to Alliance for Appalachia reports.
According to Mr. Bakaletz, cleanup had been ongoing through the weekend following the wreck but had not been completed by the time he discovered it. Video of the spill was taken by BSF employees. Bakaletz notified Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on Monday after he discovered the spill. The New River supports two endangered species of fish.
The National Coal Corporation claims that only six rail cars were involved and not all of them spilled. They also assert that the spill occurred on private National Coal Corporation property.