'A Prayer Has Been Answered' in Mayfield
Mayfield residents rejoice in the news that Senator Bryce Reeves announced on Wednesday that would eliminate the need for any storage or distribution point of the ethanol in Fredericksburg near the subdivision.
Mayfield resident Rev. Hasmel Turner said he feels like a prayer has been answered for the residents of Mayfield after Sen. Bryce Reeves announced Wednesday that a solution is near for the ethanol rail car storage yard next to the community in Fredericksburg.
“I am excited," Turner said. "It has been a cloud that has hovered over the community and the city itself for some time and I believe we have finally come to a reasonable solution and all of the parties feel we can rest easy now."
Once residents learned of the potential danger of what was inside the tankers back in 2010, they created a campaign to get CSX to move them away from Mayfield. Turner, Willie Holmes and Janice and Rev. Lawrence Davies were among the Mayfield residents who got involved.
Reeves announced that a long-term agreement was made between Eco-Energy Holdings and NuStar to develop an ethanol unloading, storage and outbound truck loading solution at NuStar’s Dumfries facility in Prince William County. The arrangment allows NuStar to receive 96 rail cars from CSX with a 24-hour to 26-hour turnaround. Reeves said that basically eliminates the need for any storage or distribution point of the ethanol in Fredericksburg and mitigates risk concerns.
"That’s a win-win situation," Turner said."We are thankful Sen. Edd Houck started it and Sen. Bryce Reeves has followed it through. He hit the ground running and stayed on it and now we are seeing the results of his hard work."
Turner said Mayfield residents still have concerns about other hazardous materials that are stored in the rail yard. The rail yard storage is about 110-feet away from Mayfield homes, he said. He said there's hope that there may be other spots in Virginia that can store the excess rail cars.
There were so many, the overflow of it was in the community throughout the weekend and it was quite an eyesore," Turner said. "We are working on another project with CSX to add an additional track over near the industrial side of the Mayfield community and move the cars back about 265 feet away."
Reeves secured funding in legislation that will help CSX officials develop the side track to allow the rail company to move the cars closer to the Bowman Center, which is in Spotsylvania County. The Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors will still need to amend the special use permit to allow for the rail cars to be stored in the Bowman Center. A berm, a gate and a warning device in case of any hazard are also part of some of the improvements that were in the legislation.
Willie Holmes said he spoke with Rev. Turner who briefed him on the proposed solutions. He said his biggest concern was the safety factor and he hopes that more discussion is brought up about what Mayfield residents do if there were ever a hazardous materials situation at the railyard.
“It has been a concern for me for at least a couple of years," Holmes said. “I am hoping it will be a good thing. The railroad track isn’t going anywhere, but we just have to deal with these issues and make sure it doesn’t get any worse than it is."
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