Strike ends; shipments don't

Times Union | February 16, 2015 | Column by Brian Nearing

Two derailments spark concern of Albany safety group

Exterior of Kenwood railyards where engineers have walked off the job at Canadian Pacific on Monday, Feb. 16, 2015 in Albany, N.Y. (Lori Van Buren / Times Union)

Albany

A short-lived strike by unionized workers at Canadian Pacific Railway ended after less than a day Monday without any time to possibly impact the rail line's steady shipment of North Dakota crude oil into the Port of Albany.

After more than 3,000 train engineers and conductors walked off the job in Canada at midnight Sunday, both CP Railway and Teamsters Canada union agreed to seek mediated arbitration, which will put workers back on the job while talks continue.

CP trains haul crude oil to the Kenwood Yard at the Port of Albany for Global Partners, a Massachusetts-based company that runs an oil terminal where crude is shipped out on the Hudson River on tankers or barges. On Monday, a CP Rail train carrying crude oil arrived at the yard, said port General Manager Rich Hendrick.

"At this point, I would have to say there has been no impact visible at the port because of the strike," he said earlier in the day. CP brings crude from the upper Midwest, across southern Canada and south into New York along Lake Champlain before arriving at Albany and the Hudson.

A call to Global Partners was not returned.

Also on Monday, a crude oil train derailed near Charleston, W.Va., sending at least one tanker into the Kanawha River and setting areas at or near the river ablaze, according to a statement on the Facebook page of the Kanawha County Emergency Management Department.

"A large train derailment ... is believed to involve a large number of tankers carrying crude oil. Several tank cars and houses, along with the Kanawha River are on fire. Some of these tank cars have exploded," according to the statement.

Photos posted online by the Charleston Daily Mail showed thick black smoke and fireballs shooting hundreds of feet into the sky.

That incident came after another explosive derailment of a crude oil train in remote northern Ontario over the weekend. A Canadian National railway spokesman said 29 cars in the 100-tanker train derailed Saturday, with seven catching fire. No one was hurt in the accident, which happened in an unpopulated area.

"I wouldn't be surprised if the port were to get fewer trains in the near future," said Sandy Steubing, of People of Albany United for Safe Energy. "How many explosive derailments does it take before (state Environmental Conservation) Commissioner (Joe) Martens declares summary abatement to protect us?"

bnearing@timesunion.com • 518-454-5094 • @Bnearing10

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Strike ends; shipments don't
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.