West Virginia oil train accident affects New York
Feb 18, 2015 12:04 am
A large CSX oil train explosion Feb. 16 in West Virginia had an immediate impact in Albany, with several politicians making statements. Photos of the large accident along the Kanawha River might be similar to what it might look like if there was a local oil train accident. There, a fire raged for almost a day, and shut down the local water plant for almost 24 hours. In the Hudson Valley, oil trains travel up and down the west side of the Hudson River daily, with hundreds usually sitting in the Albany yards. It turns out that the train cars in the West Virginia accident were the same type of “safer” cars that ship much of the crude through New York. Capital New York reports that the CPC-1232s involved in the accident are also used by New York's largest oil transport company, Global Partners. The company began voluntarily using these cars in New York last year after a several high-profile oil train accidents. The Daily Freeman reports that the Cuomo administration has proposed boosting New York’s oil spill fund from $25 million to $40 million. Riverkeeper staff attorney Michael Dulong testified in Albany recently that when the oil fund was created more than 30 years ago it was worth about $100 million in today’s dollars. The Cuomo administration also wants to shift authority over the accidents from the state comptroller to its own environmental staff. NYSDOT Commissioner Joan McDonald and NYSDEC Commissioner Joseph Martens released a joint statement on the accident:
"Yesterday's derailment of 25 rail cars carrying crude oil through West Virginia and the resulting house fire is exactly the reason why the U.S. Transportation Department should not wait any longer to adopt tougher safety regulations for shipments of crude. These proposed regulations - requiring rail cars to be retrofitted with reinforced steel plates and advanced braking systems - will help better protect our communities from the dangers posed by the transport of crude oil by rail. For more than a year, Governor Cuomo has strongly advocated for the federal government to expedite new regulations regarding crude oil by rail, but the pace of progress remains far too slow. New York has witnessed a dramatic increase in the amount of crude oil transported by rail in recent years. Under the Governor’s direction, the State has taken aggressive actions to better protect our residents and natural resources."