WGXC-90.7 FM

New York's oil accident fund runs low

Dec 03, 2014 10:27 am
Brian Nearing reports in The Albany Times-Union that earlier this month state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli refused Gov. Andrew Cuomo's request for a half-million dollars from an oil spill cleanup fund to support planning, staff, and equipment to deal with potential oil spills from the Bakken crude rail shipments now crowding local railways. Now the Cuomo administration wants to beef up the 36-year-old fund, which currently spends millions more on spill cleanups than was collected from polluters. Those polluters are suppossed to support the fund, but Nearing reports, "most state-ordered cleanups under the fund were supported not by polluters, but by a gasoline tax paid by consumers in the state. Consumers are kicking in about $30 million a year to the fund." Petroleum shipped through New York is not taxed, so those profiting from flood of Bakken crude oil trains won't pay if the fund is used to clean up their mess. As of March, the fund only had $28 million, with $175 million due from polluters and $86 million written off as uncollectable. Cuomo wanted the half-million dollars from DiNapoli to support updated spill cleanup plans for the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, and Mohawk River rail corridors; to hire more DEC staff to handle spill planning, for training and response; and to buy spill response equipment to be stored in "sensitive areas" in advance of potential spills. Read the full story in The Albany Times-Union.