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Lawmakers visit oil train explosion site

Federal lawmakers representing West Virginia traveled to the site of Monday’s massive oil train derailment and explosion to help residents and officials recover from the incident.

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinManchin wrestles with progressive backlash in West Virginia Democrats slide in battle for Senate Five takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada MORE (D) and Rep. Evan JenkinsEvan Hollin JenkinsJenkins resigns from House, is sworn in on W.Va. Supreme Court More than 50 Dem House challengers outraise GOP incumbents Key Republican says House taking targeted approach to combating opioid epidemic MORE (R) said on Twitter that they went to Mount Carbon, where a train carrying more than 100 tank cars full of crude oil derailed and exploded Monday.

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The incident caused no deaths and only one person was injured. But hundreds of residents of two towns were evacuated, and municipal water supplies were temporarily cut off as officials determined whether oil got into the Kanawha River, which serves as a water supply.

“First and foremost, after touring the derailment site, I am thankful that all West Virginians are safe,” Manchin said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

He also said he’d be interested to hear how government and industry could work to prevent future crude-by-rail disasters.

“We must work together to find ways to ensure this type of accident does not happen again and transport this material as safe as humanly possible,” Manchin said. “I will be working with federal, state and industry officials in the coming weeks to make the necessary improvements to secure our safety.”

Manchin said he met with federal, state and local officials on the scene.

Jenkins said he met with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D), Manchin and environmental and safety officials from West Virginia and the federal government.

Rep. Alex MooneyAlexander (Alex) Xavier MooneyKey conservative presses for shield law after seizure of NYT reporter’s records May brings key primaries across nation 25 House Republicans defy leadership in key spending bill vote MORE’s (R) district is outside of the explosion area, but the Kanawha flows into his district and some of his constituents were affected by the water shutoff.

Mooney said his first concern was with safety, but he also said he was open to hearing what could be done to prevent future incidents.

“I am prepared to review findings from CSX and federal regulators on the scene in West Virginia to determine whether action can be taken to improve rail transport safety,” he said.

“It is unfortunate the president continues to use executive action to obstruct projects like the Keystone XL pipeline, which would lighten the burden on our railway and highway systems,” Mooney said, adding that he wants to fight to improve permitting for pipelines.

Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Dem path to a Senate majority narrows GOP shrugs off dire study warning of global warming Overnight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Senators face Wednesday vote on Trump health plans rule | Trump officials plan downtime for ObamaCare website | Lawmakers push for action on reducing maternal deaths MORE’s (R) office helped get the word out about resources for residents and offered its help to constituents. Capito’s staff visited the disaster site, and Capito spoke with Tomblin about the incident, said Amy Graham, the senator’s spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, the federal Transportation Department sent rail and hazardous material safety investigators to the site to launch a probe into the incident. The National Transportation Safety Board has not said whether it would have its own investigation.