New York must take steps to stop oil-train transit

Syracuse Post-Standard | May 11, 2015 | LTE by Frank Raymond Cetera

To the Editor:

Last Fiday, attending an Economic Expo at the Fairgrounds' Empire Room, I stopped in my tracks at the view of an ominous train whose cars stretched as far as the eye could see.The placards read "1267", indicating petroleum crude oil - a class 3 flammable liquid.This is the same type of explosive cargo as on the train that derailed in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec in 2013, destroying half the downtown and killing 47 people. The same type of train that derailed and exploded earlier this year in Colorado, South Carolina, and just last week in North Dakota.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., stands in Syracuse's Armory Square in this August 2013 file photo to draw attention to the hundreds of rail cars that pass through each day carrying crude oil. The senator was joined by Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner as they called for old DOT-111 tanker cars to be phased out because of safety flaws. (Provided photo)

It's frightening that these trains pass next to our community's residential centers - Solvay and Tipp Hill, and economic resources - the New York State Fairgrounds, Destiny USA, and the new amphitheater. The route snakes alongside Onondaga Lake, for which millions of dollars have been invested in cleanup of industrial pollution. Will fair goers and trail users be advised that they are within the bomb train blast zone?

Last week, this paper published commentary from an oil industry (trade association) president ("Oil Industry Group Responds to Senator Schumer ......") calling for changes to "significantly lessen the likelihood of derailments". Even with these changes, do we want to be in the blast zone of the one incident that will still be inevitable?

New York must immediately stop the Bakken oil bomb trains from coming through our state. Instead of enabling the extraction of ever-more dangerous forms of fossil fuel energy, we must demand investment in clean, safe and sane energy production -- renewable energy that would produce five times more green collar jobs than exist today.

Frank Raymond Cetera

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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.