Green Party presidential prospect urges action on 'bomb trains'

The Legislative Gazette | April 13, 2015 | Column by Keith J. Ferrante

The Green Party's likely presidential candidate for 2016, Dr. Jill Stein, spoke in Albany April 7 about the dangers of oil trains and their potential for dangerous accidents across the state.

Trains carrying crude oil, such as Bakken oil from a shale formation in North Dakota, through New York has been a high profile environmental and health issue in recent years. Following a derailment of such a train in Quebec which killed 47 people, the safety of New Yorkers as the traffic of oil trains increases has become a major concern, especially in Albany, a major hub for these trains to transfer oil. Photo by AP.

Stein was the Green Party's candidate for president in 2012 and she recently created an exploratory committee to run for U.S. president in 2016. She is an environmental activist and medical doctor who has lobbied for campaign finance reform and redistricting, among other progressive issues.

Stein's message last week was of New York needs to find a solution to protect its citizens from crude oil transport once and for all, and not just a temporary solution, saying it must be "rendered obsolete."

"I support many people in New York who are calling for a truly definitive solution, which is not just to put these trains and bomb trains and this very dangerous fuel on pause and on hold, but to render it obsolete," Stein said. "And to make this the beginning of an emergency transition to 100 percent clean and renewable energy: wind, water and sun by 2030."

Stein stressed that the presence of the oil transporting trains and their proximity to homes in the area "puts the people of Albany particularly at risk." She also said it was "astonishing" the federal government hasn't set any new safety rules in the aftermath of the two years since the disaster in Lac-Megantic, Quebec in which 47 people died when a train carrying crude oil was left unattended and allowed to roll into the town's center, eventually derailing and exploding. It also caused severe damage to nearby buildings and infrastructure.

"These are essentially weapons of mass destruction that have been regularly detonating every seven to 14 weeks with either major derailments or very significant explosions and toxic spills," Stein explained. "And they are, importantly, going through population centers and particularly through Albany which is a critical point of transfer."

Stein's Albany appearance was one of three she made last week, with stops in New Paltz and Staten Island.

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Green Party presidential prospect urges action on 'bomb trains'
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.