Oil Trains

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, flanked by Earthjustice Attorney Chris Amato and BeBe White, president of the Ezra Prentice Homes Tenants Association
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

A company that handles crude oil shipped by tanker trains and Hudson River barges says it's scaling back operations at the Port of Albany.

Public outcry against the so-called "Bomb trains" reached a fever pitch in 2014 over the July 4th holiday weekend - In Albany, Congressman Paul Tonko marked the one-year anniversary of the oil train disaster in Quebec.
JUSTIN MIKULKA

A company that handles crude oil shipped by tanker trains and Hudson River barges says it's scaling back crude operations at the Port of Albany.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Following the derailment of a train heading for Selkirk last week, the Albany County Executive is renewing concerns about shipping crude through the city.

Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read
Colin Read for Mayor/Facebook

New York’s lieutenant governor was in Plattsburgh last week for what Mayor Colin Read described as the time to end the concepts phase and begin implementation of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Read tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley that an old gas station will be removed within a few weeks and public interaction will now focus on implementation of redevelopment plans.

Dorcey Applyrs
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

On Wednesday, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy marked the unofficial anniversary of the county’s advocacy for residents concerned about the hazards of expanded oil train traffic and processing in Albany’s South End.  The air quality and noise issues created by both the trains and high-volume diesel truck traffic continue to plague neighborhood residents.

At the conclusion of this week's town hall meeting at Albany's Ezra Prentice Homes, WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas spoke with Aaron Mair, the National President of the 2.4-million member strong Sierra Club. Residents of the South End public housing complex heard from top environmental officials Wednesday evening, sharing their growing concerns about diesel truck traffic and the presence of nearby Global Partners, which transports Bakken crude oil by railroad tracks that buffer the apartments.

Mair sees the residents’ struggle with air and noise pollution at the expense of quality-of-life as a glaring example of what some call "environmental racism."

Dorcey Applyrs
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Residents in Albany’s South End heard from top environmental officials Wednesday, the same day nearby Global Partners was criticized for air pollution. WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas attended the meeting at the Ezra Prentice Homes.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

  Federal, state and local government officials were in Albany's South End Wednesday night where they met with residents to talk about health risks and other issues associated with oil trains. 


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New York Sen. Charles Schumer says oil companies should be required to make their crude less dangerous to transport before loading it onto trains.

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New York state is making a new investment in helping first responders train for oil fires.

Stop oil trains Tee Shirt
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Following a rally 1,500 strong in Albany's Lincoln Park Saturday, hundreds of climate activists descended on the Port of Albany to protest the crude oil trains frequently seen along the city's waterfront.

Climate activists from near and from as far as Maine, Quebec and central Pennsylvania are converging on downtown Albany for a day of protests against fossil fuels.

Stop oil trains Tee Shirt
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York state's comptroller is urging federal authorities to strengthen safety measures against oil spills and require trains to carry sufficient insurance to cover cleanup costs from major accidents.

Stop oil trains Tee Shirt
Pat Bradley/WAMC

A coalition of environmental and municipal officials stood in a park overlooking the Saranac River and a rail trestle this morning. They announced a new effort to convince federal representatives from New York and Vermont to ban crude oil transport in order to protect Lake Champlain and the Hudson River.  

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Transportation officials say teams have examined another 341 oil tank cars, 132 miles of track and 69 switches, finding five critical defects needing an immediate fix and 42 others. 

First responders in Albany have a powerful new weapon in their arsenal to fight crude oil fires and prevent disasters involving liquid propane.
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Government officials Wednesday announced that the City of Albany has received a foam trailer from the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control.

Lac Megantic in 2013 following train explosion
Sûreté du Québec/Wikimedia

A U.S. bankruptcy trustee says a settlement fund for victims of an oil train disaster in Canada remains on track, and payments will be made next month.

WAMC Photo by Pat Bradley

A survey of 250 oil train bridges across America found that almost half showed signs of deterioration.

Lac Megantic in 2013 following train explosion
Sûreté du Québec/Wikimedia

A U.S. bankruptcy judge has approved a $338 million settlement fund for victims of a fiery oil train derailment that claimed 47 lives in Quebec.

Lac Megantic in 2013 following train explosion
Sûreté du Québec/Wikimedia

A Canadian railroad has withdrawn its objection to a $338 million settlement fund for victims of a fiery train derailment that claimed 47 lives in Quebec, removing the final obstacle to the fund's approval.

Pat Bradley/WAMC

Environmental advocates are breathing a sigh of relief after an idea to store oil tanker cars in the Adirondack Park now looks like a non-starter.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

In the latest chapter of a long-simmering dispute, Albany County has taken two separate legal actions against so-called oil trains. The county executive says the intent is to protect residents' health and safety.

Pilgrim Pipeline Pitfall

Jun 20, 2015
Pilgrim Holdings, LLC

 Some new developments with the Pilgrim Pipeline:


WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

A daylong summit on crude oil transportation is under way at the College of St. Rose in Albany.

Albany County hasn't had a major oil train disaster, but County Executive Dan McCoy, erring on the side of "safe, not sorry" called a community "Crude Oil Transportation Summit" to brainstorm and compare notes with officials who have had to deal with such calamities.  "We've never really had to deal with this type of emergency, and hopefully we never do. But we want to be prepared, if something, God forbid like this happens, that we handle it correctly."

Pat Bradley/WAMC

Environmental groups from New York and Vermont met at a wildlife management area adjacent to a rail line today to release a report detailing the threats of tar sands oil transport through the region. As WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports, environmentalists say new response plans issued by New York State this week are only a start.

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  Two U.S. Senators will lay out a four point plan for rail safety this morning. 

U.S. Senate

  The Department of Transportation has issued regulations on oil trains.

But in today’s Congressional Corner, New York U.S. Senator Charles Schumer tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that they don’t go far enough.

New Oil Train Rules Elicit Different Concerns

May 4, 2015
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The U.S. Department of Transportation Friday issued regulations aimed at improving safety for trains carrying crude oil and other hazardous materials.  The rules come following a number of oil train derailments in the U.S. and the deadly 2013 tragedy in Quebec.

WAMC Photo by Pat Bradley

There is concern about transporting volatile crude oil by rail across New York. Members of the Clinton County Oil Train Task Force gathered near a rail crossing in downtown Plattsburgh on Earth Day to highlight resolutions passed by local municipalities calling for policies to improve the safety of the trains carrying oil through the region.

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