LETTER: Local government best means to be heard on oil tanker ‘bomb trains’

Daily Freeman | May 15, 2014 | LTE by Joan Walker-Wasylyk

Dear Editor:

The unaccountable, arrogant license of the oil/gas industry is brought home to our Hudson Valley by the “bomb trains” moving through our local towns.

The highly descriptive nickname was coined by railroad men, not tree huggers. The fracked Bakkan crude oil is different from conventional oil. It burns explosively at a low temperature. Although, legally, deadly chemicals must be contained in insulated train cars, deadly crude oil is legal in ordinary, thin-skinned DOT-111 tank cars, of which 200 a day ride the rails across New York state. There have been two New York derailments recently, of empty cars luckily. 

Kate Hudson, lawyer for Riverkeeper, not exactly a drama queen, has predicted an explosive catastrophe, “not if, but when.” 

Hudson will address the Ulster County Legislature on May 20. Some local legislators are calling for a public hearing. We must support local democratic efforts to question an industry which has bought Congress. Both Washington and Albany admit the risks of this transport but are focusing regulation on our “right” to know about the risks so first responders can be prepared. Prepared for massive fire balls in our neighborhoods? 

Our local legislative agencies embody the only democracy still accessible to us. Call your county legislator. Let’s support this call for a public hearing to be heard much farther than Kingston. 

Joan Walker-Wasylyk

Woodstock, N.Y.


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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.