From UD: Rail mishaps of oil shipments can quickly cut back worth of close by property


University of Delaware researchers have examined the links between property values and rail accidents that lead to the release of hazardous materials.

A decade ago, U.S. crude oil was not transported by rail in the United States — not one drop. After an unprecedented expansion of domestic energy production, the use of trains became more common in Delaware and elsewhere.

When these hazardous petrochemical materials pass through urban areas with dense populations, the public has good reason to be concerned. But, whether it’s by train, boat or pipeline, transportation only becomes a mainstream topic when there’s an accident, which can cause human health risks, property damage, evacuation and environmental degradation.

These accidents leave behind obvious physical damages. But what about the impact on people’s property values?

The University of Delaware’s Martin Heintzelman and his collaborators published a new research study in the Journal of Urban Economics on rail derailments involving hazardous materials and the impact on property values.

They found the negative impact on housing property values lingers for almost a year and a half. The project was motivated by the dramatic increase in shipment of oil by rail in the last decade and prominent accidents.

Click here for the story from UDaily.

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