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Does Kansas derailment further derail energy supply?

Train derailed in Lawrence, Kansas. - USA Today / YouTube

Late Friday afternoon June 17th, about 30 cars from a coal train derailed north of Lawrence Friday afternoon in Douglas County, Kansas, according to a spokesperson for Union Pacific.

There were no injuries, George Diepenbrock, spokesperson for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed. However, tons upon tons of coal was spilled from the cars in the area of East 1450 and North 1900 Road, close to the Lawrence Municipal Airport.

Diepenbrock said deputies responded to the derailment about 5:10 p.m. The area is close to the Lawrence Municipal Airport. Sent via email, Diepenbrock said the cargo cars’ detachment from the engine “caused significant damage to the rails and the railroad crossing at North 1900 Road,”

Mike Jaixen, a spokesperson for Union Pacific, said via email just before 9 p.m. Friday that crews were arriving to begin the cleanup process and the incident was under investigation by the company. He also said Union Pacific crews were working well past midnight Saturday following the derailment of about 30 railroad cars carrying coal Friday afternoon. For more images, click this link.

Concern now is, how long will it take to clear up the large amount of coal spilled? How much coal was spilt? Where was it heading?

Did you know? Coal accounts for 21.8% of American energy and is the most abundant source of electricity worldwide, currently providing more than 36% of global electricity. Coal-fueled power plants account for nearly one-quarter of the electricity in America.

In this nation, coal is also a “home grown” energy source. American mines account for virtually all of the coal used to provide electricity domestically. By contrast, other energy sources, such as nuclear and renewable energy, are heavily reliant on imported minerals to fuel nuclear reactors or construct wind turbines and solar panels.

In short, coal provides affordable, reliable and constant power that is available on demand to meet energy consumption needs. Despite all the emerging alternatives, coal is still incredibly essential to lifting people worldwide out of energy poverty.

Will this have a devastating impact on our energy supply here in America? Maybe not, 3,000 tons is a small percentage of coal delivered daily. On average, each coal factory in the nation receives approximately 26,000 tons of coal, but any loss of resources always has a ripple effect. Thankfully, no one was injured in this incident.


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