Attorney General Madigan files lawsuit, injunction against Union Pacific Railroad for Champaign County oil spill
Attorney General Lisa Madigan today filed a lawsuit and a motion for preliminary injunction in Champaign County Circuit Court against Delaware-based Union Pacific Railroad Company after a southbound train spilled diesel fuel near the village of Sidney earlier this month.
The lawsuit and motion seek to require Union Pacific to prevent additional diesel fuel from contaminating soil, air and groundwater, and leaking into nearby water sources. The filings were accompanied by an agreed injunction order, which requires Union Pacific to further investigate the site to determine the full extent of the contamination, and to clean up the impacted area. Union Pacific must also submit a report describing what caused the spill and how the company plans to prevent future spills. Under the order, Union Pacific also agrees to reimburse the state for costs incurred in responding to the incident.
“This leak resulted in a significant amount of diesel fuel being released, jeopardizing public health and the local habitat,” Madigan said. “We are pursuing these measures in court to ensure that the company continues to cooperate with efforts to fully clean up the contamination and restore the surrounding areas.”
On May 2, a Union Pacific train released a reported 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel over a tributary of the Salt Fork River and adjacent land in Champaign County. The fuel contaminated the surrounding tributary, flowing downstream into the village of Sidney and the Salt Fork River. Diesel fuel is toxic, and exposure to vapors can cause dizziness, headache and nausea.
The case was referred to the Attorney General by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
The next status hearing in the case is set for July 15. Assistant Attorneys General Brian Clappier and Eric Lohrenz are handling the case for Madigan’s Environmental Bureau.