March and forum in Kingston will focus on transport of crude oil

Daily Freeman | July 9, 2015 | Column by William J. Kemble

KINGSTON >> Representatives from about dozen environmental groups will hold a forum and lead a march on Broadway Thursday to protest the growing use of the rails and the Hudson River to transport crude oil.

Oil tanker cars sit on a siding in the Kingston train yard. FILE PHOTO BY TONY ADAMIS

The march is to start at 5 p.m. in front of City Hall, 420 Broadway. It will proceed up Broadway to the CSX railroad overpass, then return to City Hall, where the forum is to start at 6:30 p.m. in the Common Council chamber. 

“What New York is facing right now, in the midst of an oil and gas boom, is becoming a conduit ... for Bakken oil coming out of North Dakota,” said Wes Gillingham, program director for Catskill Mountainkeeper. 

Gillingham said the crude is “being transported all across the U.S., threatening cities along the way because of outdated oil tankers and rail cars.”

“And even the updated ones that they use have had accidents and explosions,” he said. “Those are going ... down the Hudson and on rail lines, right through places like Kingston, where there would be an awful lot of people that would be in that blast zone.” 

The march is being held in memory of the 47 people killed on July 6, 2013, when a crude oil train exploded in Lac Megantic, Quebec. 

Other groups expected to have representatives in the march and at the forum are Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Riverkeeper,, ENJAN, the Esopus Creek Conservancy, Protecting Our Waters, Frack Free Catskills, Citizens Action, the Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipeline-NY, the New Paltz Climate Action Coalition and Midtown Rising. 

Among concerns of the organizations is the proposed 178-mile Pilgrim Pipeline, which, if created, would carry Bakken crude from Albany to Linden, N.J., largely along the New York Thruway corridor, and refined fuel products from Linden back to Albany. The dual-pipe system would carry about 8.4 million gallons per day in each direction. 

Gillingham said the forum is intended to provide information on the range of threats to the Hudson Valley. 

“We have someone who will Skype in from North Dakota to explain what’s happening in their community,” he said. “We’ll have somebody talking about what’s happening in Albany, where [crude oil] is being transferred from train to barge. We’ll have somebody talking about the threats to river because of the condition of the rail bridges along the way and the threat from barges.”

Do you like this post?

Be the first to comment

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.