February 19, 2015
Contact: Sandra Steubing
5183018615

IS ALBANY NEXT?

At 5:30 this evening the steps of Albany City Hall on Eagle St. will be filled with protesters, community leaders, environmentalists and county legislators - all objecting to the continued presence of explosive Bakken crude oil trains in Albany. This past week two more explosive derailments occurred in North America bringing the total to seven since July of 2013. The Bakken crude oil that exploded in West Virginia is the same type of crude that comes into Albany every day. The explosive derailments in chronological order are: 1) July of 2013 when a train carrying explosive Bakken crude oil from North Dakota derailed causing the deaths of 47 people, 2) Aliceville, AL. in November, 2013, 3) Casselton, North Dakota in December of 2013, 4) New Brunswick, Canada in January of 2014, 5) Lynchburg, VA in April of 2014, 6) Ontario, Canada last Saturday night and 7) Mount Carbon, West Virginia on Monday. According to a Reuter’s article “It is only a matter of time before a train derails in a major urban area like Chicago or Albany, both of which are rail centers handling large numbers of oil trains, causing mass casualties.”

Here is what a few of our leaders are saying:

Christopher Amato, an attorney with Earthjustice: “It is disappointing that with the lives, property and natural resources of New York hanging in the balance, the Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has failed to respond to our petition asking the Commissioner to exercise his authority to ban unsafe rail cars from the Port of Albany. It is time for the Cuomo administration to stop twiddling its thumbs waiting for the federal government to act and to use its statutory authority to address this imminent threat to public safety and the environment.”

Albany County Legislator Doug Bullock: “We are asking the Common Council to follow the precedent set in the Albany County Proclamation by issuing a similar resolution for full transparency and scrutiny by DEC. This includes rescinding the negative declaration regarding Globals’ oil boiler project and requiring a full SEQRA review plus an environmental justice assessment for potential adverse affects. In addition, the Common Council needs to request DEC’s Commissioner Martens use “Summary Abatement” as petitioned by Earthjustice in October ’14 to prohibit the receipt and storage of explosive Bakken crude oil at the Port of Albany.”

Former Albany Common Council member Dominick Calsolaro in an open letter to DEC Commissioner Martens: “In light of the two most recent crude oil-by-rail derailments this week, it is now time for you to use your powers to protect the health and safety of NYS residents and ORDER AN IMMEDIATE END TO CRUDE OIL-BY-RAIL SHIPMENTS IN NEW YORK STATE! We can not wait until Albany or Syracuse or Lake Champlain is destroyed by a train derailment and subsequent explosion and oil leakage before the State takes action."

Pastor Marc Johnson from St. John’s Church of God in Christ: “The oil trains should be viewed as a social and immoral injustice. Placing our neighborhood and community in the role of ‘sacrificial lamb,’ in the event of a chemical accident is unconscionable.”

According to a May 23rd article in the Wall Street Journal, each rail car of Bakken crude oil holds the energy equivalent of 2 million sticks of dynamite. Albany county receives approximately 6 unit trains a day; each train consisting of approximately 100 cars each. Salon.com reported on June 29, 2014 that Scott Smith, an independent scientist, tested the Bakken crude from three accident sites - Lac- Megantic, Casselton, and Aliceville. Smith found 30 - 40% of the Bakken consists of volatile gasses. Federal Railway Official, Karl Alexy, has stated “At train speeds from 30 - 40 mph you cannot build a tank car robust enough to withstand puncture in unit train derailments.” The Lynchburg derailment cited above was traveling at 24 mph. The National Transportation Safety Board has concluded these unit trains of Bakken crude are ‘an unacceptable public risk’.

We will always have human error and mechanical failures. An energy feasibility study from Stanford and Cornell concludes that New York can derive 100% of its energy needs from the renewable sources of wind, water, and solar. Dr. Robert Pollin from the Political Economy Research Inst. of U Mass Amherst has found that for a million dollar investment we can achieve five oil/gas jobs or thirteen solar jobs. The people of Albany cannot tolerate this risk any longer.

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PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy
PAUSE is a grassroots group of individuals who have come together to promote safe, sustainable energy and fight for environmental justice. We engage the greater public to stop the fossil fuel industry’s assault on the people of Albany and our environment.