• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

HELP: TRAIN DERAILED SPILLING GMO ON MY LAND  RSS feed

 
Norma Blackstone
Posts: 9
1
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
PLEASE HELP A.S.A.P. Sunday a train derailed onto our property. It dumped tons of food grade yellow corn on its way to Mexico onto our property. (18 cars full) Since we are trying to go completely permie we are upset about tons of (most likely) GMO/PESTICIDED corn. They have stored it in huge mounds on our land until they clean it up. I don't know if I should be concerned or not. Everyone says oh good no contamination. REALLY?

What my biggest concern is the gmo ratio to soil must be out of this world and I am not sure what impact it may have on my land.

EPA is here and said they will clean up most of it but what about the residual...? I don't know who to ask such questions but I am really concerned about my land and future animal raising with this much contamination. Or is it not going to affect us? Our land? Our animals? Us?

There are many other issues that I will say here quickly (they cleared about an acre of our land without asking to put the tons of corn in piles along with the debris from the railway (not to mention the debris from the train which may contain lead). I am really upset and sad to say that we just bought this 11 acre piece of land; "our serenity ranch" 6 months ago. What would you do if you were in this position? Do I have a valid concern?

Any help you may share with me would really be helpful.

Too_much_sm.jpg
[Thumbnail for Too_much_sm.jpg]
Corn mounds. Don't know how many tons
 
Dave Burton
pollinator
Posts: 1026
Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
109
bike books forest garden tiny house transportation urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Welcome to permies.com Norma!

Once most of the corn is removed, here are a few ideas I've thought of:

-make compost piles immediately over the soil and see if the heat will kill the seeds
-heavily heavily mulch the area to bury the seeds and plant cover crops ontop to shade out and prevent the corn from germinating
-bring in a chicken or other poultry tractor (a big moveable pen and coop) and have the poultry scratch up the entire soil and devour all seeds, then sow with a cover crop
-sow straight up with a cover crop to prevent germination; then use it as green manure for a couple cycles until a nice topsoil buries the ground where the corn was
-or try some other alteration/combination of these, there are many ways to mix and match these concepts
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2392
79
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Water it.

Get it good and wet so it starts to rot. Add any mushrooms you can find to the pile. Fungi know how to handle GMOs. Get enough bacterial and fungal digestive enzymes in that pile and it won't have any genes that have been modified, all of it will be broken down into very small molecules.
 
Michael Martin
Posts: 25
1
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
File a suit for damages...before Monsanto sues you.
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
Posts: 961
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
6
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Get a good lawyer. Maybe you need some cash you must raise money. The train spilled it directly on your property or they trucked it there?
Talk to everyone you know about it. Take a ton of pictures and write everything you know carefully down.
 
Norma Blackstone
Posts: 9
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
No the train derailed onto my property and some of it fell into the easement next to my land. There were 18 cars that derailed. They decided to level my woods (1 1/2 acres) to use it for storing the corn they dug up from the easement and my property so they would have it all rounded up. In addition my concern is that they scraped the top soil from the easement which may have contaminants too. Lead most likely. EPA has stated it is not a contaminant. ? We are totally out of our element in this matter. We just bought this property with a house in December. Thanks for the advice everyone...please keep sending me suggestions. I REALLY need your help.
 
wayne stephen
steward
Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
104
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You are certainly entitled to damages done to your property . Were the trees lumber grade ?
 
Norma Blackstone
Posts: 9
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I do not know for sure if they were lumber grade but the woods was extremely dense with old trees that were hardwood 30"X 40' tall and 20" X 30' tall junipers
 
Ann Torrence
steward
Posts: 1191
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
111
bee books chicken duck goat trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Norma Blackstone wrote:(they cleared about an acre of our land without asking to put the tons of corn in piles along with the debris from the railway (not to mention the debris from the train which may contain lead).

Who is "they"? That's what you need to find out. I kind of doubt EPA has their internal employees working as heavy equipment operators on call in your neighborhood. Who are the contractors, who hired them, who gave them the instructions to trespass. Because trespass is what it is.

Actually, I'd leave this to a lawyer. Accidents happen, but compounding the damage with further destruction needs to be remediated by the responsible parties.

 
Norma Blackstone
Posts: 9
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ok the contractors working for the railroad company are the people who are clearing and talking to us. Communication from the actual railroad is non existent. The contractors have spent the last 4 days abusing and damaging my fence line ( approx. 1700" feet of fence) and anything in the way.

I begged them to please stop the damage. Asked them to use their own easement and leave my trees alone. How they can take advantage of me and my property without any care hurts. Who does this kind of stuff with blatant disregard for the owner.
pieces.jpg
[Thumbnail for pieces.jpg]
Storing pieces beyond the property line. They said their railroad is more important than damaging my land.
 
Dave Burton
pollinator
Posts: 1026
Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
109
bike books forest garden tiny house transportation urban
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Unless you file a lawsuit, sue them, or get a lawyer, there really is not much that you can do. I do not know anything about how to go to court about stuff; the only thing I know is that it costs money. You could continue documenting things and try filing an insurance claim if the property was insured.

On the upside of all this, as bad as it seems, you now have tons of wood to make hugelkultur beds; your land has cleared sections of it that are now perfect for replanting with whatever you'd like; a cabin could be built there and be made for people to rent and for you to earn money. There are many possibilities of what you could do with the now open and clear section of land. The wood cut down could even be used to rebuild your fence, and the leftovers could go to whatever projects you can imagine.

There are many threads at permies.com covering topics almost anything you might need help. If you are worried about cleaning up toxins, its here. If you don't know how to hugel, there is an article by Paul Wheaton on what hugelkultur is and how to do it. If you want to grow mushrooms for eating or selling, we've talked about that, too. We're all more than happy to help you with your questions.

What happened to you does not have to be considered bad. I do agree that their handling of the situation with you, Norma, was irresponsible and rude of them and that they could do better to help you.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3349
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Document all the damage. Fences, trees, topsoil, general compaction from all the traffic. The contractor doesn't care, he needs to get done asap and knows the railroad will pay damages.

GMO corn-not a problem unless it grows and crosses with your heirlooms that you save seeds. Water it, mow it down if it sprouts. Buy a couple hogs or chickens, they will clean it up. Sell them when you are done.

If you were going to certify organic and can prove you were in the process, that would be a big one to give to a lawyer. Not for the GMO, but for the sprayed dirt from the right of way they pushed onto your land.

Don't be a jerk to the railroad, they will screw with you out of spite if you piss them off and you will never see a penny. They have very good lawyers paid to procrastinate until you die or give up. But if you are polite and straightforward they will usually pay fairly to close the file.
 
Dan Boone
gardener
Posts: 1786
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
195
forest garden trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As others have said, get a lawyer. Ultimately you'll get a fat check for the trespass and damages. What's more, your lawyer can ensure that the responsible parties pay for soil testing and remediation (probably removal) of any contamination.

The GMO corn with pesticides is itself nearly the least of your worries, because it's temporary. If the corn sprouts, it's an annual, and you can easily prevent significant reseeding. What doesn't sprout will rot and be gone -- DNA is biodegradable. The pesticides may take a *little* longer, but all the big permaculture brains seem confident that they will break down in the soil through fungal action and so forth.

Most of the corn will be trucked away, and what they don't scrape up is, essentially, free mulch.

 
Norma Blackstone
Posts: 9
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you everyone for such great advice. We are working toward an organic way of life. We have started and planted only GMO free and organic seeds in 5 large hugelbeds. And having good success with harvesting already this year.

We feed our animals only GMO free feed and free range chickens and ducks when possible. Since we have only been here 6 months we are going to add livestock next spring. Further we are taking the permie ehos courses offered by jack spirko. My husband wants to become certified. We are "permies" in the making. Yes we agree accidents happen and honestly we are not unreasonable people. I sincerely do not want to jepardize our progress going forward with contamination of any kind.
 
Dave Burton
pollinator
Posts: 1026
Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
109
bike books forest garden tiny house transportation urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm glad to hear you've been doing so well. Please keep us update to what you plan to do. I hope it all goes well.
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
289
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
They said their railroad is more important than damaging my land.

That rankles every bone in my body. The railroad is a fucking piece of iron. The earth is what we live on. Ne'er the twain shall ever meet.

As much as I distrust/dislike many lawyers, I think that this is a good time to find a good one.
The railroad has hired private contractors to 'clean up their mess'.
The railroad has a bevy of lawyers, as do their insurance companies (who are going to pay for all of the damages/losses). Unless you have a lawyer, you will be left with what they are willing to offer (probably less than 5% of what they paid to have it 'cleaned up'). A typical lawyer may charge 20%, but if he settles for 2, 3, 4X what they initially offer, you are at the least breaking even, rather than losing. It was the RR's fuck up, why should you lose? They made the mistake, you didn't.

As I am fond of saying: "If you cannot find a lawyer that knows the law, find one that knows the judge."
(I have 1st hand knowledge of how this works...it ain't an 'old wives tale'.)
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2392
79
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dave Burton wrote:Unless you file a lawsuit, sue them, or get a lawyer, there really is not much that you can do.


What Dave said. In triplicate.

You can probably get a lawyer to take this on a contingency. Like the accident lawyers who represent people that have been injured. They have no problem proving you have been damaged; they have no problem proving who is at fault; the party at fault is covered by insurance. All that is required is a professional (the lawyer), who can total up the account of the damages and negotiate the settlement for it. Talk to a couple of lawyers who advertise heavily in your area. They make it their practice to extract the maximum possible for their clients from the insurance company that wants to minimize its payouts. Every day that the railroad doesn't hear from your lawyers, their smile gets a little bigger.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
Posts: 2413
46
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello Norma,

I really wish we could have met under better conditions...welcome to Permies....


Norma, you have gotten some great advice, and I can guarantee that we are all behind you in your efforts to deal with this.

I have had some experience with very similar circumstances, and I will check in on this conversation to read your reply. You can contact me directly if you would wish to, but I would like to keep the action steps public for other folks to see and use if they ever need to.

1. Document in writing and photos everything from day one...every day until case is settled.

2. You do need a lawyer...ASAP...and try to vet one that has similar case experience.

3. You need to read all connected documents to your deed, local and state easement laws, and any fine print in the railroad easement. If they did not ask permission to store outside the easement, and/or remove the trees off your property that is a criminal offense of destruction of private property (a big NO NO in Texas)

4. Because of the potential in this case for "criminal trespass" you need to file a report with your county Sheriff and/or local state police. One of the local Law Enforcement Agencies should be able to guide you with some of this. Get and keep copies of ALL DOCUMENTS that are produced either by you or others.

5. Look into Texas laws of "seizure of left property." That scrap metal...now on your land without permission...in some states becomes your property. You can sell it or seize "claim" to it now that it has been place and left on your property. Check with legal counsel and LE about procedures for this.

There is going to be a lot going on for you folks over the next 6 mouths to a year...sorry for that, but you do have rights and you need to stand up for them.

As for the environmental impact of the corn...we will deal with that after the clean up...there is going to be a lot going on...and right now "the milk is spilt," we need to find out who owns the mop....and bucket, plus who pays the cleaning crew, as well as, who is responsible for what.... I think you will be fine with not to much damage from these GMO corn products as part of a "spill event." The impact of them (train folks) mucking about and there equipment on your property has me more concerned.
Let us all know what more we can do...and good luck!!

j
 
Dan Grubbs
Posts: 524
Location: northwest Missouri, USA
28
books chicken dog forest garden goat trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello Norma,

Something to consider … it may or may not be something you feel is appropriate.

To help balance the power scales a bit, you may want to consider a grassroots campaign to rally public support for you and your case. The railroads are behemoths and have successfully navigated the waters of the courts and insurance for many years. This is their playing field. You need some form of equalizer, in my opinion. Your selection of an attorney is critical here, not just your brother-in-law’s friend. But, secondly, you’ll still need more weight on your side.

I'm a 25-year PR professional in my day job and I know how powerful public outcry in certain situations can be; especially if you find a reporter or editor or news producer that takes up your cause. Many attorneys are usually against this kind of communications element to a "case," but the really good ones know how to leverage public opinion. There are conservation, environmental and anti-big business groups that may lend support by engaging their constituencies. Remember, there are hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. “who are itchin’ for a fight” against big business and government. This can be a powerful tool when used properly.

One case in point is the swiftness with which public outcry became a deciding factor (not the only factor) to the crisis in Nevada recently with Mr. Bundy and his family’s cattle. Social media, news coverage and the network of communication of the members of the supporting groups all contributed into how that scenario played out. I’m convinced that it was national opinion (or fear of it) that kept federal officers and their contractors from opening fire on the militia that came to support Mr. Bundy.

Whether we agree or not with Mr. Bundy’s position on that specific issue isn’t the important lesson for us. The lesson is the power of public support and how it can influence decisions by those in power (whether elected, appointed or in business).

JCW gives good advice to first see what position law enforcement will take on this issue. They could be sympathetic to your cause, so I would do everything in your ability to develop law enforcement as your advocate. If they are not sympathetic to your cause, then I would ask them to help you with guidance on staying within the law while dealing with the physical property and real estate. Let them know that you want to stay well within the boundaries of the law and will look to them to help you do that.

If you do see the value in trying to generate grassroots support for your situation, I would be happy to discuss this issue with you about strategies and tactics. But, know it will take a commitment of time and effort.

As a very small start, I will give you all the flags I can for this thread and ask other permies to add their flags to this thread, too. The number of readers on this forum is quite large, and if we can get this thread in front of them all, that would be an excellent thing to achieve. As you document things, be sure to include video. Video as a communications medium is as powerful as it gets in the world of social media.

You are welcome to purple moosage me for contact information.

Blessings
 
wayne fajkus
Posts: 724
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Do they have basic sanitation for the workers there? Like an on site port a potty?
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3729
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
86
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Norma Blackstone wrote:
I begged them to please stop the damage.

They should be begging you for permission to use your land. If they don't have it, they are trespassing.

Did you call the local sheriff, and tell them to come out because people are on your land without permission? That will document that they are trespassing.
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1133
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
John Elliott wrote:
Dave Burton wrote:Unless you file a lawsuit, sue them, or get a lawyer, there really is not much that you can do.


What Dave said. In triplicate.

You can probably get a lawyer to take this on a contingency. Like the accident lawyers who represent people that have been injured. They have no problem proving you have been damaged; they have no problem proving who is at fault; the party at fault is covered by insurance. All that is required is a professional (the lawyer), who can total up the account of the damages and negotiate the settlement for it. Talk to a couple of lawyers who advertise heavily in your area. They make it their practice to extract the maximum possible for their clients from the insurance company that wants to minimize its payouts. Every day that the railroad doesn't hear from your lawyers, their smile gets a little bigger.


yeah i agree with this, get a lawyer on contingency. on contingency means they will get a percent of what they get for you, which makes them want to get the most for you, and i am sure any lawyer who looks at this will see its a done deal, you will win and they will get paid. you just need to document everything, exact dates when every thing happened, get all of the peoples names who are working on it, ask for more names, ask for the supervisors of the people who are there and take down their names. gather pictures and a file with as much information as you can, photos taken previosuly to this happening, photos of what it looks like now, and photos of what it will look like once they "clean up".

i know its weird to put yourself into the weird world of lawyers and strange bureaucratic stuff, but it will be worth it to get some money for this. i would play up the aspect of trying to do as natural of a farming method as possible, like saying you were trying to become a certified organic producer and now you might have problems.
 
Norma Blackstone
Posts: 9
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You guys have given some amazing advice. I can not begin to tell you how overwhelming this is for us. I have been in a whirlwind so I have not gotten many names but I have photographed for each day and been in the field at least a couple of times a day.

I do have details of conversations; no names but I know their positions like the site foreman. Do you think that is enough? I feel so stupid and inept. The contractors have so many supervisors that I am unsure of who said what but I can give a detailed time and day and where I was standing when they said it.

Couple of things that stick with me from the beginning is they way they treated me. It was as if I am wrong asking them to stop taking down my trees. For 3 days they snapped off limbs and bulldozed trees back behind the fence line for as much as up to 50'. But most of all the guy in charge of clearing the debris told me they decided to mow down the acre and a half of woods 'TO SAVE A HALF AN HOUR OF TIME PER CAR TO GET THE RAILROAD UP AND RUNNING". Because "they are loosing millions of dollars" and " need to get the rails up and running A.S.A.P. I woke up to the leveled woods the next morning. What a shock.

Can you believe that! Do we own our own land! To me it is the principle...
 
Doran Belknap
Posts: 2
Location: Heart of Texas
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The best thing you can do is NOT put all this on the internet! I have seen the internet screw up a lot of cases! You can bet a paralegal will comb your complete internet history once the railroad gets this to their lawyers. Don't be surprised if private investigator does not show up or has not already shown up under guise of RR employee. To them this is a travesty and an inaderdant accident. They will hire the lawyers best connected to the local judiciary. You will most likely be better off with a lawyer, but before you sign a contract with one to sue, ya might just wait and see what the RR offers. They are sometimes generous to stave a law suit or more bad press. Your emotional responses will be used in court to make you look bad for the court. I have seen it many times. Let the calm head prevail. Document all with photos and video while keeping a journal of contact with all involved during the incident. Write down names, times, dates, and places where the contact occured. I am not a lawyer but worked for many of them as an investigator.
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1133
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Norma Blackstone wrote:You guys have given some amazing advice. I can not begin to tell you how overwhelming this is for us. I have been in a whirlwind so I have not gotten many names but I have photographed for each day and been in the field at least a couple of times a day.

I do have details of conversations; no names but I know their positions like the site foreman. Do you think that is enough? I feel so stupid and inept. The contractors have so many supervisors that I am unsure of who said what but I can give a detailed time and day and where I was standing when they said it.

Couple of things that stick with me from the beginning is they way they treated me. It was as if I am wrong asking them to stop taking down my trees. For 3 days they snapped off limbs and bulldozed trees back behind the fence line for as much as up to 50'. But most of all the guy in charge of clearing the debris told me they decided to mow down the acre and a half of woods 'TO SAVE A HALF AN HOUR OF TIME PER CAR TO GET THE RAILROAD UP AND RUNNING". Because "they are loosing millions of dollars" and " need to get the rails up and running A.S.A.P. I woke up to the leveled woods the next morning. What a shock.


i think this is so clear that you have been wronged here, without fault, that it wont be a huge deal if you dont get the names, but i would keep it in mind from now on and see if you can get the names of everyone you talk to. any other details too, ask for business cards or names of anyone you speak to from now on, exact date and time you speak with them, and if you get a run around trying to phone people or ask questions ask to speak with the supervisors. little details like this just help if it does come to actually going to court.

i would definitely get the guys name who said that were clearing land they had no permission to clear to save a 1/2 hour each car, cause that just isnt their call to make and is tresspassing. they shouldve at least told you about it, or requested permission, to which you couldve and shouldve said no. that way if you need to repeat this detail you can use the exact name of the man who said this to present the information, as opposed to just saying it was some guy.

i agree with some above posters who said be polite to them, dont freak out or get emo about it. but also dont be a pushover either, be firm and polite in your conversations. i think it would be good for you to take a stand and tell them that they arent allowed to keep treating your land as though they can do anything they want without consideration for you. document when you do this and what you said, also what the response was and from whom. this will prove that you let them know, that you know what they are doing is not authorized by you, if they give you flack for it it will stregnthen whatever damages claim you have because you were clear in telling them it was not allowed by you and they did it anyway.
 
Doran Belknap
Posts: 2
Location: Heart of Texas
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just another thought...if you have a pellet stove, you can burn the corn the same as a wood pellet.
 
wayne stephen
steward
Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
104
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I hesitate to give advice for fear of leading you astray but .... my advice is a good real estate lawyer . Your case is going to be decided on the basis of easements , trespassing , destruction of private property , loss of value , etc . I believe common law is on your side . To hell with what the EPA has to say .
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1133
Location: northern northern california
68
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
sorry to prattle on here with another post but this is what i think your next step should be, besides trying to find a lawyer and/or calling the police.

write the company doing the clean up work and who cleared your woods. in the letter you can add in some information of what already happened, as well as request that they remove all railroad property from your land immediately and cease cutting down any more trees and clearing any more of your land.

this way you can document that you clearly asked them to remove any and all railroad property and not put any more there, that you clearly asked them to not clear the land or cut trees, and you can slip in that you have already requested this but it has not been heeded. you can slip in some of the information of what has already happened, basically confirming what has already felt like a violation to you, asking them to stop cutting....which would be good if you do end up getting a lawyer and filing a suit.

it could say something like...on july 9 i spoke with the company employee/supervisor (specifically named) and requested that they stop cutting down my trees, and they ignored my request. point out that there were alternatives, they couldve just used the easement but chose to disregard your request and use your land due to trying to save the railroad company money. etc etc, you get the point. totally be reasonable and polite.

date the letter, type it up, and hand deliver it to the company, and potentially the railroad company as well, anyone else you can think to mail it to....
 
wayne stephen
steward
Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
104
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Also , from experience : They will attempt to satisfy you with a low ball offer . Do not accept any offers without advice from a lawyer . Once accepted - it is caput ! Deal is done . This is a railroad . They have been at this - with their lawyers and lobbyists - since 1803 . Encroachments , easements , eminent domain are their playgrounds .
 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6704
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
253
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If this happened to me, I'd be giddy with anticipation. I'd try to get the clean up contract and I'd hire dozens of baggers to gather corn for sale as feed or fuel. It would be a welcome bonanza with a compensation package. $$$$$ When I was a kid a truck spilled corn on our road. Dad and all of the kids grabbed garbage cans full of it. Canada geese finished the job.
 
Ken Peavey
steward
Posts: 2524
Location: FL
89
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Another contamination problem to consider:
Railroads apply herbicides along the tracks liberally to keep down weed growth. If the contractors have scraped up the soil near the tracks in their clean up efforts, and piled that soil on your land, it will contain herbicide residue. Ge sure to gather samples of the piled up soil, the soil near the tracks, and uncontaminated soil on your property for testing if needed. Once the cleanup is complete, it's likely the railroad will spray the area again to suppress weeds, so your problems may continue.

--

18 cars
3200 bushels/car
56 pounds per bushel
3,225,600 pounds of corn
7000 BTU/lb
22,579,200,000 BTU

Can you keep the corn?
Time is of the essence here.
The corn has no agricultural value at this point. If you could claim the corn, screen it, bag it, and sell it as fuel, 64500 sacks of corn at $2 net/bag, $129000 could be realized. This plan also includes a huge amount of work and some investment in equipment so it may not be feasible. However, it may be an option to consider in mitigating your loss. Just pull a market for corn fuel out of a magic hat.

It may be in your interest to gather some of the corn for fuel for your own home. A few tons, properly stored, could offer heating fuel for several years. Again, some investment in equipment (stove, storage containers) would be needed.

Are their any moonshiners in your area? Get the word out, that stuff will be gone in a day.

Are their farmers in the area? Not everyone has the same apprehension as you regarding the dangers of GM corn, and may already be feeding the stuff to their livestock. Plenty of farmers out there who would leap at the chance to scoop up truckloads of that feed for the right price.

If the stuff were to rot down, you'd be looking at something in the neighborhood of 3000 cuyds of compost. At $25/cuyd, this would have a value of $75000. Being only corn, you would do well to add in some amount of brown materials (leaves, sawdust, spent hay) which would increase the volume.
Perhaps this event is an opportunity to start a humus farm.

 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3729
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
86
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ken Peavey wrote:
Perhaps this event is an opportunity...


Good permaculture thinking... the problem is the solution.
 
Norma Blackstone
Posts: 9
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sincere thanks for all your input! I couldn't think and you guys are helping so much!

I value all the information given so far. Keep it coming please.
 
Terri Matthews
Posts: 469
Location: Eastern Kansas
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Norma Blackstone wrote:No the train derailed onto my property and some of it fell into the easement next to my land. There were 18 cars that derailed. They decided to level my woods (1 1/2 acres) to use it for storing the corn they dug up from the easement and my property so they would have it all rounded up. In addition my concern is that they scraped the top soil from the easement which may have contaminants too. Lead most likely. EPA has stated it is not a contaminant. ? We are totally out of our element in this matter. We just bought this property with a house in December. Thanks for the advice everyone...please keep sending me suggestions. I REALLY need your help.
YIKES!!!

WERE THE TREES IN THE EASEMENT?

We had a lot of trees cut by the power company, but not before they bought the easement at 25 cents per square foot!!! This brought in hundreds of dollars, which I used to plant trees someplace else! If they left the easement I would think they ABSOLUTELY owed you damages!
 
Norma Blackstone
Posts: 9
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The went past their easement and came up past our fence line in some places as much as 50'. Took out all of the fence for about 1600 to 1700 ft.
 
Dave Burton
pollinator
Posts: 1026
Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
109
bike books forest garden tiny house transportation urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
While you are deciding what to do about the situation, Norma, I would like to mention that the Freecycle Network might have a few things here or there that could help with your repairs. Keep staying optimistic and don't give up!
 
Terri Matthews
Posts: 469
Location: Eastern Kansas
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Norma Blackstone wrote:The went past their easement and came up past our fence line in some places as much as 50'. Took out all of the fence for about 1600 to 1700 ft.


Then they owe you compensation for anything they ruined off of their easement. Ask them, and if you do not get just compensation talk to a lawyer. Possibly talk to a lawyer anyways.

I told you before that the electric company paid for their easement BEFORE they cut a tree: I assume they would not have done it if they had not had to! And, also, they put my fence back up when they were done, and gave me the choice of receiving money for grass seed or having them replace the lawn themselves.

I do not know of your state laws, but in Kansas when they are on the easement they an cut down any tree that is in their way, BUT! they must repair my fences and also restore my land. Obviously they cannot replace my 9 bearing fruit trees but by law they could not let all the soil wash away either. So they gave me straw that I agreed to scatter, and they gave me money for seed.

I do not believe they would have done that if they could have just ripped everything out and left it. So I would assume that is the law here in Kansas. I *DO* know that it is illegal to take something without compensation for it. I expect the railroad is hoping you do not make waves. It is possible the RR company does not know what their contractors are doing, and also possible the RR would make the contractors toe the line or to fix what they can and pay for what they cannot. Our power company used contractors also.

An easement is permanant. Perhaps the RR would rather rent that bit, and replace your fence and seed your land when they are done? Was anyone else's property affected?

 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
Posts: 961
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I didn't know about the problem writing here and a possible lawsuit. If that is the case I would ask to delete this thread.
If someone would do this on our property I would ask them to stop because they are trespassing. When everything is clear
and you know exactly what they are doing, how long and how exactly, what type of machinery they are using then they can start.
I don't know weather it is a good idea to write something up for the local paper and send them some pictures.
 
Norma Blackstone
Posts: 9
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
UPDATE: As of this past weekend we started moving brush and trees in the clearing. There is still a lot of corn on the ground and it is now growing. See pic below. Any ideas what we can do? As I read in the above posts once these sprouts are destroyed the GMO will be gone. Is that right? (see the pics below). They are still working on removing the large amounts and hopefully will get it up by the end of this week.
july_20.png
[Thumbnail for july_20.png]
corn covering clearing
Sp_land.png
[Thumbnail for Sp_land.png]
Sprouting corn
 
Ian Taylor
Posts: 59
Location: Grafton NY, 25 Miles east of Albany
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would definitely talk to an attorney, i'm sure you can get at least some compensation from the railroad because of the obvious harm done to your land here, I dont see why you would need to delete the thread to do that either, as long as you don't say anything stupid that would harm your case it isn't going to hurt you to document your greivance publicly. It would mot likely end up as an out of court settlement anyways, if it goes to trial you most likely are going to spend a fortune on legal fees and never see a dime from them.

As far as the GMO corn, I think you are overreacting just a little, its not like they spilled dioxin or something. My main concern would be if I was a corn grower that it would cross pollinate with mine and undermine my seed saving, you can remedy that just by mowing the corn down after it grows up a little and just for good measure do the same thing next year in case any overwinter. Its not like the corn being spilled there is going to result in some sort of scorched earth scenario though, it isn't inherently toxic (Unless its BT corn, but even still, mowing it should be your best solution along with letting the clippings compost, BT has a short half life) and if you mow the sprouting plants down it will just compost in place and possibly even give you a little bit of soil fertility, compliments of Monsanto!
 
To do a great right, do a little wrong - shakepeare. twisted little ad:
Systems of Beekeeping Course - Winterization Now Available
https://permies.com/t/69572/Systems-Beekeeping-Winterization
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!