Norfolk Southern looks to expand ethanol station

The idea of Norfolk Southern trains rolling through Cameron Station in Alexandria has never bothered people living in the area.

But when cars carrying ethanol arrived five years ago, it was a different story.

Mindy Lyle is leading the charge against Norfolk Southern's push to double its ethanol transfer station from 14 cars to 30.

She and others are voicing concerns about damage to air quality near homes and a school, damage to water quality in Backlick Run and the possibility of an explosion or a spill, several of which have happened in the last five years.

Alexandria Mayor William Euille says Norfolk Southern didn't communicate with the city before applying for an environmental permit for the new project. It’s similar behavior, he says, to when the company created the current transfer station five years ago.

"Sort of did it under darkness of night without being truthful and honest with the city and cooperating in advance,” he says, adding he’s not happy about it.

Norfolk Southern is not addressing any of these criticisms, instead saying the expansion is not final and the permit application is happening to be ready in the event the move makes financial sense.

"We want to be able to act quickly should those market conditions allow us to,” said a representative of Norfolk Southern.

Like many parents in the area, Malvika Paddock believes the safety of children should be protected.

"I definitely feel like it's a worthy fight,” she says.