Sheehan names members of rail oil safety panel

Times Union | July 29, 2014 | Post by Jordan Carleo-Evangelist

Mayor Kathy Sheehan today named the members of the blue ribbon panel she convened last week to study the issue of rail safety in the city.

The panel, you’ll recall, was formed in response to County Executive Dan McCoy’s call last Wednesday to relocate potentially hundreds of residents from the Ezra Prentice Homes on South Pearl Street, which border a rail yard packed with oil-bearing trains.

Sheehan responded by saying local officials need to push the rail industry for solutions that don’t require people to leave their homes.

The mayor will chair the 15-member panel, which includes a who’s-who of local community and elected officials as well as the head of Albany Law School’s Government Law Center and the head of the Albany Housing Authority.

“We need to build on the positive momentum we’ve achieved from local and federal actions taken to date to improve rail safety,” Sheehan said in a statement. “The unprecedented increase in rail traffic impacts everyone who lives, works, shops and drives near the tracks. My administration is committed to giving community members a voice as we develop realistic solutions for keeping people safe.”

Interestingly, two of the members of Sheehan’s panel — County Legislator Lucille McKnight and Ezra Prentice Tenants Association President Charlene Benton are also being named to McCoy’s Expert Advisory Committee on Crude Oil Safety, according to a release today from the county in advance of a press event tomorrow afternoon.

McKnight, a veteran South End lawmaker, was not pleased at having not been invited to McCoy’s press conference in her district last week.

Sheehan’s panel, which will start work this week, is charged with studying the issue and making recommendations by Sept. 2.

Here’s the full list:

Albany Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan, Chair

Hon. Carolyn McLaughin, Common Council President

Hon. Dorcey Applyrs, Common Council 1st Ward

Hon. Vivian Kornegay, Common Council 2nd Ward

Hon. Lucille McKnight, Albany County Legislator District 1

Hon. Craig Apple, Albany County Sheriff

Bill Law, Vice President, Mount Hope Neighborhood Association

Charlene Benton, President, Ezra Prentice Neighborhood Association

Georgeann Payne, President, North Albany Neighborhood Association

Chief Steven Krokoff, City of Albany Police Department

Chief Warren Abriel, City of Albany Fire Department

Miriam Stuart, Director, Shepherd’s Purse

Ray Brescia, Director, Government Law Center at Albany Law School

Dr. Erin Bell, Environmental Health Expert, School of Public Health

Steven T. Longo, Executive Director, Albany Housing Authority

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@PAUSEnergy tweeted this page. 2014-07-30 12:15:11 -0400
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.