Coal train derails into Great Dismal Swamp wildlife refuge

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FILE – In this Sept. 13, 2017 photo, Chris Lowie, refuge manager of the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, gestures as he looks over a historical marker at the location of the town constructed by George Washington in Suffolk, Va. A coal train derailed Tuesday, June 25, 2019, into the refuge in Virginia. The accident is still being cleaned up and has raised concerns about the impact on various forms of wildlife, including endangered species. Lowie said the Norfolk Southern train is “literally right in the middle of the swamp.” (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

SUFFOLK, Va. (AP) — A coal train has derailed into the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia. The derailment is still being cleaned up and has raised concerns about the impact on various forms of wildlife, including endangered species.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that the derailment occurred early Tuesday morning when 36 cars full of coal went off the tracks.

Refuge manager Chris Lowie said the Norfolk Southern train is “literally right in the middle of the swamp.”

The coal that was being transported is a fine material, almost like sand. The refuge is home to endangered species such as long-eared bats and red-cockaded woodpeckers. But the coal will most likely impact aquatic species such as snakes and turtles.

Norfolk Southern did not immediately respond to requests for comment by phone or email.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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