As protests grow, Amtrak cites delays caused by oil trains

Capital New York | April 15, 2014 | Column by Scott Waldman

ALBANY—The Amtrak corridor between New York City and Albany has increasingly seen delays because of oil train traffic and the situation will likely get worse for passengers, according to a senior Amtrak official.

About 60 percent of the route's on-time delays are caused by CSX trains, Amtrak data shows. That is one of the most significant numbers of delays caused by crude trains in the country, along with the number of delays on the route from Chicago to Seattle, DJ Stadtler, head of operators for Amtrak, testified at a Washington hearing recently.

Stadtler said it was only going to get worse, Reuters reported.

That revelation comes as some prominent environmental activists continue to mobilize against the increased traffic of crude oil by rail. 

On Tuesday, representatives of environmental groups including the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation and called on Governor Andrew Cuomo, on a conference call with reporters, to set a national standard by requiring a full environmental review of the trains coming through New York.

State officials have repeatedly said that they need more federal support in preparing for the oil train transportation.

“New Yorkers need him to move beyond the rhetoric of saying we need more federal oversight and we need him to take action,” said Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York.

Albany has emerged as a major oil transportation hub to handle the influx of crude oil coming from the Bakken formation of North Dakota, which also stretches into Montana and Canada.

Yesterday, a group of protestors in the state Capitol wore yellow hazmat suits to request that Cuomo do more to regulate the industry in New York.

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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.