Atlantic Chapter

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The Tar Sands fight comes home to NY

Train Wreck

The extraction of Canadian tar sands and North Dakotan Shale oil has sparked a firestorm of international protest over the threat that this emerging source of crude oil could present to the earth’s destabilizing climate.  The Keystone XL pipeline – the fuse by which this climate “bomb" would be lithas to date been blocked by the Obama administration, largely out of acknowledgment for the catastrophic environmental risks.

But while the focus has been on stopping pipelines, oil companies have been quietly looking to the railways to transport this dirty fuel from the North American heartland to its coastal refineries thousands of miles away.  New Yorkers are now just waking up to the fact that hundreds upon hundreds of crude oil rail cars rumble from Buffalo and the upper reaches of Lake Champlain to Albany every day along some of New York’s most important waterways and city centers. This “pipeline-on-rails” has never received an environmental review yet represents dangers of apocalyptic proportions.

Just last July, a train carrying 120 tanker cars of this crude oil derailed and exploded in the tourist town of Lac Megantic, Quebec killing 47 people and incinerating 30 homes and businesses. A few weeks ago in Casselton, ND a crude oil train collision forced emergency responders to evacuate hundreds of people from the small rural town to minimize human exposure to the toxic smoke emanating from the hundred foot fireball.  If these accidents had happened at the port of Albany or any point along the city’s rail corridor it would have threatened the lives of tens of thousands of people including those at the State Capitol, City Hall, State agency buildings and extensive neighborhoods and housing developments.

Right now there is a proposal before the Department of Environmental Conservation to expand the amount of crude oil coming into the port of Albany from 1.2 billion gallons to nearly 3 billion gallons annually.  In addition, the applicant, Global Partnerss LLC is looking to build a boiler facility to heat the heavy tar sands coming off rail cars to reduce viscosity and facilitate more fluid transfer to ships.  The DEC has already determined that there are no significant environmental impacts attached  to these actions.

Will you tell DEC to take the necessary steps to ensure a full environmental impact statement is conducted on this emerging threat to New York’s health and safety?

Tell DEC that you are concerned about:

  • The impact that an increasingly likely crude oil spill could have on the Mohawk River, the Hudson River estuary, Lake Champlain and other waterways of New York.
  • The ability of the State’s aging rail infrastructure to take on this massive new cargo without serious risk to derailment.
  • The relative safety of the rail cars and the heating methods used to alter the viscosity of crude oil.
  • The impact that crude oil transport has on already impacted environmental justice communities and disaster response infrastructure.

 

UPDATE: Due to the large number of concerned comments from citizens, the comment period has been extended, yet again, to November 30, 2014!


Take action by filling out the form below, or mail your comments to:
Karen M Gaidasz
NYSDEC Region 4 Headquarters
1130 North Westcott Rd
Schenectady, NY 12306
(518)357-2069


Recipients

  • Commissioner Joseph Martens, DEC

Contact

*Required fields
 

Message

Global Companies LLC application Title V Facility permit (ID 4-010100112/00029)

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am extremely concerned about the increasing number of crude oil rail cars rumbling from Buffalo and the upper reaches of Lake Champlain to Albany every day along some of New York's most important waterways and city centers.



Please take the necessary steps to ensure a full environmental impact statement is conducted on this emerging threat to New York's health and safety.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]