Under pressure, N.Y. agency delays action on proposed Albany heating facility

E+E | May 22, 2014 | Column by Colin Sullivan

ALBANY, N.Y. -- State regulators here yesterday extended the public comment period on a company's plans to expand a processing facility to allow for the heating of oil sands crude.

The Department of Environmental Conservation added another 60 days, to Aug. 1, to receive more public feedback on Global Companies LLC's application to heat petroleum products, including crude oil and biofuels, at its Port of Albany facility.

In doing so, the DEC in a statement cited recent train derailments related to the shipment and handling of crude, including a deadly accident in Quebec last year.

The DEC had already extended the public comment period to June 2after asking Global in a detailed letter to reveal what type of oil it intends to heat, whether it has enough liability insurance and more details on its emergency spill plans.

The company has also filed a separate permit application for a second such facility, to be located down the Hudson River from Albany close to Newburgh, N.Y.

In the statement on the delay, the DEC said Global had answered its letter in part, and agency officials are reviewing the information received. The statement did not say whether that information would be released directly to the public.

The extension follows increased scrutiny on Global's plans from prominent environmentalists, including 350.org's Bill McKibben, who last month pressed Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to intervene against any plans to import Canadian oil sands into the state to heat the product and barge it down the Hudson to refineries.

Writing alongside 10 other prominent environmentalists, McKibben said Global's application to possibly import and heat Canadian crude along the Hudson for the first time "has statewide, national and global significance." Their letter urged Cuomo to conduct a thorough environmental review of the concept and to ultimately reject it (EnergyWireApril 17).

The letter targets both permit applications from Waltham, Mass.-based Global. Both processing facilities would be capable of offloading rail shipments of crude from North Dakota and western Canada to send it by train or ship to demand centers and refineries in the New York City area and Philadelphia.


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commented 2014-05-22 20:01:19 -0400 · Flag
An extension is good but the DEC still needs to rescind the negative declaration they blithely gave to Global and require an environmental impact statement.
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.