Forum held to discuss dangers about crude oil shipments in Albany

Time Warner Cable News | May 9, 2014 | Column by Karen Tararache

DELMAR, N.Y. -- On the heels of several deadly train derailments that made headlines across the U.S. residents near the Port of Albany gather to talk about the safety of transporting crude oil by rail in their community.

"In an industry which is always concerned about the bottom line and getting out the door as fast as they can, getting here to there at the least possible expense is often at the cost of safety," said retired CSX machinist, John Flanders.

Called "ticking time bombs," train cars can be seen stored on several of downtown Albany's tracks.

Their contents, highly flammable Bakkan Crude oil.

PAUSE member, Sandy Stuebing said, "It has all this propane and butane and all these gases in it that are highly volatile, highly explosive."

The New York Times reported that in 2013, 116 incidents involving crude oil.

Included in that number, the explosive derailment that killed 47 people in Quebec, last July. Some say the harsh reality serves as a valuable lesson.

"That is what we want people to see. We want people to realize that that is the risk. So those pictures are very valuable. I wish they didn't exist but unfortunately they do," Albany Council Member Vivian Cornegay said.

After the Lynchburg derailment in Virginia last week, Governor Cuomo wrote a letter to President Obama, calling on the Federal government to remove all cars not equipped to carry Bakkan crude.

Retired railroad worker, John Flanders says there are other issues, too, that should not be ignored.

"Fatigue for train crews. They can be required to work up to 432 hours a month whereas airline pilots only have to work 100," Flanders said.

Cornegay said, "We can't stop talking. Just because someone has said 'ok we hear you we see you,' they have to keep this in the front."

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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.