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A Citizen's Chemical Environmental Resource Team.  


“Creating safe and livable communities through informed citizens.”


Updated: February 3rd, 2005

Articles and information on this webpage may be used free of charge if you credit the author, webpage and ACCERT!

(Formerly the ACCEH, Alberton Community Coalition for Environmental Health)

Who we are, On April 11th, 1996, a Montana Rail Link train derailed near the small town of Alberton, Montana, releasing 133 tons of mixed chemicals into the environment. In the aftermath of the derailment a small group of evacuees and victims formed a chemical injury advocacy group dedicated to improving the quality of life for victims of that train derailment which created the largest mixed chemical spill in railroad history. 

Over the years our small non-profit has learned many lessons and with new knowledge has come a deeper understanding of the challenges facing victims of chemical disasters, which has led us to form, ACCERT!

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The Documentary Film, A Toxic Train Ran Through It:                   

In 1996, Lisa Mosca was a graduate student enrolled in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Montana. For two long years, Lisa recorded through video the events following the Montana Rail Link, April 11th, 1996, train derailment and chemical spill: The largest chemical spill in railroad history.

In August, 1998, the film premiered in Missoula, MT, at the Boone and Crocket Club, as a fund-raiser for the Alberton Community Coalition for Environmental Health.

A Toxic Train Ran Through It, became Lisa's master thesis. Lisa Mosca, has since moved out of the area, but left her documentary film as a legacy to the people of Montana whom she had dedicated so much of her time, energy, and passion to while filming her thesis.

During the fall of 2002, three of Lisa's friends; Ron Scholl, Lucinda Hodges, and Jesse Hodges decided to update, A Toxic Train Ran Through It. With the use of Missoula Community Access Televisions equipment Lisa's VHS film footage was edited with brand new digital software. New scenes were added, the sound was enhanced, and a sharper and shorter version of, A Toxic Train Ran Through It, emerged.

It is our pleasure to offer this documentary film to the public on behalf of Lisa Mosca and the people and places of Montana that she loved.

You may purchase the 30 minute documentary on DVD or VHS for $15.00, plus shipping and handling, contact Missoula Community Access Television, MCAT, at

Thanks To MCAT for technical training and access to cameras and equipment.

January 25th, 2005

A Message to the evacuee’s and victims of the recent toxic train derailment in Graniteville, South Carolina. .

Be aware many communities have suffered some of the same experiences that you are living through now. You will find that your best resource will be people who have lived and learned their way through a chemical disaster. The April 11th, 1996, train derailment in western Montana released 133 tons of toxic chemicals into the air, water, and soil that fateful day. This is what we learned:

1. Consult a physician immediately. Very few doctors have the expertise to accurately diagnose a chemical exposure, so request a written referral to consult an experienced environmental medicine physician.

2. Documentation is required. Formally request that all public documents pertaining to the derailment and chemicals spilled be immediately archived in the community for easy citizen access.

3. You have the right to know. (Established in 1986, by EPCRA, Community Right-To-Know law.) Be sure to request all photographs, videos, news coverage, and maps.

4. Information is power. Do your homework. Experts will always disagree, but citizens must make choices in the best interests of their families. Learn everything you can about the chemicals you and your family were exposed to.

5. Put everything in writing and maintain your credibility. Follow up all conversations with experts and officials with a letter and ask them to respond to you in writing. Use facts, and don’t make comments you can’t back-up with documentation.

6. Don’t let anyone pressure you into signing anything. Take your time. Learn what your states statutes of limitations are for filing a claim, and use that time to make an informed decision.

7. Be persistent! You are protecting your family’s health, property, and quality of life. You have to know what to expect in the future. Ask, ask, and ask again!

8. Stay together as a community. You may not always agree with your neighbor but you still need to give support and encouragement. What would happen to our great country if we didn’t stay together?  

"Most toxic victims suffer from citizen's bind. In seeking publicity, they enhance their community's stigma. In actively seeking answers, they enhance their level of stress. In depending on government for assistance, they are likely to be disappointed. And facing a mitagory gap, wherein an extended period of time elapses between the definition of the exposure and the execution of the steps to correct it, victims may find themselves trapped in a situation where they are damned no matter what they do." 

Source, Contaminated Communities, by Michael R. Edelstein