July 06, 2015
Contact: Sandra Steubing

Citizens Heed Lessons of Lac-Megantic: Oil Trains are too risky for New York

At noon, the sidewalk in front of the Governor’s mansion on Eagle St. will be filled with citizens honoring the 47 who died in an explosive train derailment in Lac-Megantic, Canada. Today marks the second anniversary of the catastrophe fueled by the volatile Bakken crude oil that comes into Albany on the same weak tank cars that blew up in Canada. The Cuomo administration could issue an order, today, prohibiting the receipt and storage of explosive Bakken crude oil in unsafe rail cars at the Port of Albany. Since Lac-Megantic, there have been 9 additional explosive crude oil derailments and toxic spills in North America. They are: November, 2013 - Aliceville, AL, December, 2013 - Casselton, ND, January, 2014 - New Brunswick, Canada , April 2014 - Lynchburg, VA, February 14, 2015 - Timmins, Ontario, Canada, February 16, 2015 - Mount Carbon, WVA, March 5, 2015 - Galena, IL, March 7, 2015 - Gogama, Ontario Canada, May 6, 2015 - Heimdal, ND. In light of these ten explosions, the protesters declare that the Governor has failed in his responsibility to protect the health and safety of the citizens of the state.

During the protest, the immorality of these oil trains will be expressed both from a multigenerational and religious perspective. Here are the key speakers in their own words:

Andrew Tarwerdi is the PAUSE webmaster and a millennial speaking on behalf of his generation. "The tragedy at Lac-Megantic occurred because protecting corporate profits was put ahead of public health and safety. It is well past time for our government to reject the undemocratic influence exercised by the oil industry and instead work to prevent the destruction of our communities and our planet."

Emily McNeill, Lead Organizer, Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State, states "This train traffic is putting lives in our community at risk, all for the sake of transporting fossil fuels that are destroying the climate. It is reckless. Corporate profits are not worth endangering our neighborhoods and our environment."

"You know Mom, you are really lucky to have grown up in a world without climate change." declares Jessie Kelley, age 8, Rochester, NY. Jessie’s mother, Neely Kelley, Lead Organizer for Mothers Out Front in New York State Lead continues “The science is crystal clear, by burning fossil fuels, humans have created a climate crisis that threatens the future of all children alive today and being born tomorrow. These Bakken Oil trains carry fossil fuels that must stay in the ground. Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Martens have the power to stop these trains, and by doing so, will give our children a chance at inheriting a livable climate.”

Pete Looker, who plays the role of Water Spirit in today’s protest, explains: “I grew up and presently live on the Mohawk River, in Glenville, 20 miles before it feeds the Hudson River. I savor my summer swims which are threatened by both the immediate presence and the long term consequence of these trains. The 40 fold increase in the past few years is a reckless crime that should be stopped if we care about water, about life, and especially about our kids. We should be immediately be transitioning to 100% clean, safe energy, not speeding on a drunken oil spree.”

Mr. Looker’s statement is supported by an energy feasibility study from Stanford and Cornell that determined New York can derive 100% of its energy needs including transportation from the renewable sources of wind, water, and solar.  From a purely economic standpoint, Dr. Robert Pollin of the Political Economy Research Inst. of UMass, Amherst has found that for a million dollar investment we can achieve either five fossil fuel jobs or thirteen solar jobs.

This gathering marks the 12th rally in which PAUSE and friends have protested the continued presence of explosive, toxic oil trains in New York and the refusal by the Cuomo administration to stop them. It is part of a wider week of action across the state and the nation: ForestEthics.org or #stopoiltrains.


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PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy posted about Citizens Heed Lessons of Lac-Megantic: Oil Trains are too risky for New York on PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy's Facebook page 2015-07-06 15:43:39 -0400
Citizens Heed Lessons of Lac-Megantic: Oil Trains are too risky for New York
@PAUSEnergy tweeted this page. 2015-07-06 15:43:36 -0400
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.