Kentucky Governor Declares State of Emergency After Train Derails, Spills Chemicals

A train derailed in Southeastern Kentucky, leading to a chemical spill.

Governor Andy Beshear (D) declared a state of emergency in Rockcastle County following the incident.

“Beginning on November 22, 2023, and continuing, a train derailment in Rockcastle County, Kentucky, has resulted in evacuations, potential damages to public and private property, and road closures, with threats of impacts to the health and safety of citizens, infrastructure, local economies, and private properties,” Beshear wrote.

“By issuing a state of emergency, we are ensuring that every state resource is available to help keep our families safe,” the governor said. “Please stay clear of this area as state, local and CSX officials respond.”

According to The New York Post, at least 16 train cars were involved in the incident.

Two of the cars were carrying molten sulfur.

When molten sulfur burns, it releases sulfur dioxide, a toxic substance that can cause respiratory problems.

Residents of the surrounding area were encouraged to evacuate.

Earlier this year, a train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, contaminating a small town.

Researchers from Texas A&M and Carnegie Mellon University found that East Palestine contained “higher than normal” levels of toxic chemicals in the environment following the train derailment.

The report determined that benzene, vinyl chloride, acrolein, butadiene, o-Xylene, trichloroethylene, naphthalene trichloroethane, and p-Xylene were all detectable in the air near the crash site.

According to the researchers, acrolein presents the biggest risk to nearby residents as the limit discovered was well beyond what is considered “safe.”