Calls for more safty regs. following Virginia train derailment

WRGB | February 17, 2015 | Staff Report

NYSDOT Commissioner Joan McDonald and NYSDEC Commissioner Joseph Martens released a joint statement Tuesday saying, “Yesterday's derailment of 25 rail cars carrying crude oil through West Virginia and the resulting house fire is exactly the reason why the U.S. Transportation Department should not wait any longer to adopt tougher safety regulations for shipments of crude oil.

These proposed regulations - requiring rail cars to be retrofitted with reinforced steel plates and advanced braking systems - will help better protect our communities from the dangers posed by the transport of crude oil by rail.  

For more than a year, Governor Cuomo has strongly advocated for the federal government to expedite new regulations regarding crude oil by rail, but the pace of progress remains far too slow.  

New York has witnessed a dramatic increase in the amount of crude oil transported by rail in recent years. Under the Governor’s direction, the State has taken aggressive actions to better protect our residents and natural resources. In addition, Governor Cuomo’s budget proposes increasing the size of the Oil Spill Fund, which provides resources for oil spill cleanups when the responsible party cannot be identified or lacks the means to address a spill.  

The safety of our communities and our residents must be our highest priority and we cannot wait until the next derailment to act.   We encourage President Obama to make the review and approval of these new regulations a priority.”  

“The government has to do everything to make things safe,” said New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer. Senator Schumer said he has been pushing for more safety regulations as well. He feels the US Department of Transportation is moving more quickly now.  

“First, to try to reroute these cars through less populated areas. Second, when they go through populated areas, to make sure that the speed is lower and third, most important, to get rid of these unsafe cars,” said Senator Schumer.  

At a State level, the Governor has proposed boosting the state's oil spill fund to $40 million and sending millions to the Port of Albany for infrastructure upgrades. Albany County Executive Dan McCoy told CBS6 News that he hopes some of that money could be used for safety equipment, fire crews and training.

A spokesperson for People of Albany United for Safe Energy, or PAUSE, said the group will hold a press conference on Thursday before the Albany Common Council Meeting. The group will be calling on the Council to pass a proclamation asking for a ban on oil trains through the Albany County area.

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Calls for more safty regs. following Virginia train derailment
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.