BNSF Railway Reports Fuel Leak on Route to West Glacier

According to Montana DEQ, approximately 1,300 gallons of diesel leaked from a train locomotive while it was traveling between Havre and West Glacier

By Tristan Scott
A BNSF Railway train rumbles along the southern edge of Glacier National Park on July 11, 2015. Beacon file photo

BNSF Railway officials on Monday reported that one of its locomotives leaked about 1,300 gallons of diesel fuel between Havre and West Glacier, according to company officials and state environmental regulators who are investigating the incident.

Rebecca Harbage, public policy director for the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), said the state agency’s law enforcement division is working with BNSF officials to “more precisely identify the location of the impacts and will determine whether a cleanup is necessary.”

As of 4 p.m. Monday, DEQ’s law enforcement program was still awaiting more information from BNSF.

Harbage said DEQ was notified at around 11 a.m. Monday after BNSF discovered a fuel leak on a train locomotive that occurred while the train was traveling between Havre and West Glacier. BNSF reported that approximately 1,300 gallons of diesel were lost, Harbage said, but had not yet isolated a specific location where the fuel was lost.

If a cleanup is required, DEQ would oversee the process.

In an email to the Beacon shortly before 5 p.m., a BNSF spokesperson confirmed the information from DEQ.

“An investigation is ongoing to determine the amount of fuel released from the locomotive and where spilled material reached the ground,” according to Lena Kent, the railway company’s general director of public affairs. “BNSF will address any impacted soils in consultation with Montana Department of Environmental Quality.”

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