Panel to review crude oil safety

Spotlight News | May 30, 2014 | Column by Marcy Velte

The Albany County executive has created a new Expert Advisory Committee to lead a public safety review on the transportation of crude oil through out the county.

County Executive Dan McCoy appointed former acting Commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation Peter Iwanowicz as chairman. He will “advise and coordinate the hiring of specific consultants to review, investigate and report on the broad range of concerns relative to crude oil issues” that were the subject of the county executive’s moratorium on crude oil processing.

Iwanowicz, now the Executive Director of Environmental Advocates of New York, will be volunteering his time and expertise for the position, which is unpaid.

“As more information and concerns come to light, it’s clear the scope of this investigation requires that we bring in independent experts to help us,” said McCoy in a statement. “Peter Iwanowicz has devoted his life to public health issues, and there’s no one better qualified to help identify the experts and stakeholders we need at the table in order to get to the bottom of all the concerns that exist.”

The transportation and processing of crude oil in the Capital District has become a growing concern as an increasing number of trains carrying the substance have derailed throughout the country in the last few years. A number of communities have come together to protest the cars, which have increased in part because of the lack of pipelines to move the oil.

“County Executive McCoy recognizes that moving crude oil presents unique dangers, that this is an industry that has not been forthcoming with their motives or data, and that the public deserves a broad-based analysis into the dangers that exist both now and down the line,” said Iwanowicz in a statement. “My family and I are residents of Albany County, and I’m honored to help in this effort to ensure we’re asking all the questions necessary to keep our community safe.”

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PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy
PAUSE works to promote safe, sustainable energy and environmental justice.  We aim to engage the greater public to stop the fossil fuel industry's assault on the people of Albany and our environment.