Global seeks to put boilers in existing building at port

Times Union | March 17, 2014 | Eric Anderson

Global Partners said late Monday afternoon that it no longer plans to build a new building on its property at the Port of Albany to house boilers and heaters it is proposing, but instead wants to renovate an existing building for the heating equipment.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan late Friday told the Times Union that she’d sent a letter to the city’s planning board asking it to “supersede the DEC” on site approval for the new building. The city still would have to approve renovations to the existing building.

The boiler plan has drawn strong opposition from surrounding residents who worry about the safety and health risks they face from the expansion. The boilers would heat the Bakken crude that arrives by rail from North Dakota, allowing the crude to flow more quickly from tank car to storage. Federal regulators have warned that the crude is more flammable and dangerous than traditional crude. Their warning came after several explosive derailments of oil trains, including one last summer in Quebec that killed 47 people and destroyed much of downtown Lac Megantic.

Global Partners said it continues to seek approval from the state Department of Environmental Conservation to modify its air quality permit to allow the new boilers. Last week, Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said he was seeking a moratorium on the boiler project while officials study the health and public safety risks of the plan.

Some officials have expressed concern that the boilers would allow the Global Partners terminal to handle tar sands crude, which is far thicker and poses a pollution risk should it spill.

Global Partners hasn’t said whether it plans to transport tar sands crude, or bitumen, through Albany. On Monday, it said its boiler project “does not seek to expand terminal operations, the amount of permitted storage capacity, or the volume of products received by rail at the terminal.”

Global Partners also said it is planning to meet with officials and the public, including the residents of the nearby Ezra Prentice Homes and Mount Hope neighborhood, on the boiler project.

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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.