With another oil train crash making headlines, activists in Albany are heading over to city hall this evening to demand something be done about the tankers that pass through some of downtown Albany's most densely populated areas.
Activists, politicians and private citizens are reacting to the latest in a series of oil train mishaps: a firey derailment February 16th in West Virginia of a train hauling 3 million gallons of crude oil that destroyed a home, endangered a Kanawha River tributary, and affected two water treatment plants downstream.
Developments with the Keystone XL pipeline and other proposed oil pipelines throughout the country have dominated headlines recently, and there has been a lot of concern among citizens of our region around the impact crude oil transport can have. We’ve brought in two environmental advocates from Riverkeeper today to have a discussion.
Two agencies are now involved in updating oil-spill response plans for the Hudson River — and examining potential effects on endangered species. One conservation group is taking credit for the action after threatening a lawsuit if such plans were not put in place. One of the agencies says possible litigation had nothing to do with it.
A bill that would support the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline passed in the U.S. House of Representatives this week failed to clear the Senate by one vote.
The controversial Keystone XL pipeline was passed just last week for the ninth time by the Republican-led House of Representatives. This week, before the Democrat-controlled lame duck Senate, the measure failed by a single vote, 59-41.
The pipeline would carry crude oil from Canada south through the United States to be refined and shipped overseas from the Gulf Coast.
There have been several developments this week impacting oil trains, the subject of national and local debate.
The U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday issued new proposed rules on tankers transporting oil including quickly phasing out the use of old DOT-111 rail cars for moving crude oil and other hazardous liquids. The rules would include new operational requirements to lower operating speeds and enhance braking capabilities for high-hazard flammable trains.
A relatively minor oil spill at the Port of Albany has apparently set the scene for a summer of scrutiny, with county officials putting crude-by-rail transporter Global Partners LLC under the microscope.
Albany's river port has emerged as a major hub for rail and barge shipments of crude oil. A series of incidents involving rail cars moving crude oil internationally has prompted concerns about spills and fires from some residents and environmental groups. A weekend spill underscores those concerns.
The long lines of DOT 111 oil tankers parked outside of the Ezra Prentice complex in Albany are a constant reminder to some residents they are living in the shadow of potential disaster. Critics of crude oil transportation by rail are in pro-active mode when it comes to disaster preparedness.