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Ulster County Executive says they are prepared for a hazardous train derailment locally

Feb 28, 2023 1:03 pm

Patricia R. Doxsey reports in the Daily Freeman that Ulster County has been preparing emergency responders for the possibility of a train derailing there with hazardous materials. Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger said the county for years has held trainings to prepare for an accident, most recently at the beginning of this month. Metzger said in a Feb. 27 letter to town supervisors and mayors that she plans to do, “everything possible within the purview of my office” to protect communities against catastrophes similar to the Feb. 3 train derailment involving hazardous materials in Ohio. Ulster County has been asking that federal authorities notify them when hazardous materials are scheduled to be transported through the county and are “demanding regulatory action at the federal level to improve rail safety and prevent such a catastrophe from happening in the first place.” A major freight train line runs along the western shore of the Hudson River throughout the Hudson Valley, sometimes carrying hazardous materials. There are 39.65 miles of CSX track in Ulster County. Metzger wrote to her local officials, “We are preparing a letter to the National Transportation Security Board, Federal Railway Administration, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and our congressional representatives urging that tougher regulatory standards be put in place to prevent disasters like this from occurring in the future." Metzger said they have “a well-established hazardous material response plan” as well as “geographic response plans,” which she described as “map-based, location-specific incident plans that provide guidance to first responders to maintain situational awareness during the initial stages of incidents involving the transportation of crude oil and other hazardous substances.”

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