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Local, national officials prepare for oil car accidents

Mar 27, 2015 7:25 am
Arthur Cusano is reporting in the Register Star officials in Greene and Columbia counties are preparing for a potential oil car accident. Greene County Legislature Chairman Kevin Lewis said the county’s emergency services director, John Farrell Jr., has been conducting training for just such a catastrophic event. Lewis said, “We’ve been way out in front on the issue.” He said the department just held a training session this week. Columbia County Fire Coordinator John Howe said members of the county's hazardous materials team responders also attended the training session. In the event of a derailment or explosion, Columbia County emergency responders would likely be sent to the scene, he said. Howe said trains that run through Columbia County also carry flammable materials such as ethanol. The county is pursuing grant funding for additional training on how to deal with possible explosions, he said. The Pilgrim Pipeline is proposed to run from Albany to New Jersey, running through land near the New York State Thruway (I-87) through Albany, Greene, and Ulster counties locally. The 178-mile pipeline would carry Bakkan crude oil to New Jersey, and refined material back to Albany. Also on Wednesday, Assemblyman Phil Steck (D-Colonie) outlined numerous Capital Region locations as at risk for an oil train accidents. Previous rail accidents have occurred in Albany, Schenectady and Montgomery counties, according to Steck, who said, “The risk is far too great to continue this practice without stringent safeguards in place.” Thu., March 26 New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand and other Democratic senators backed a bill for increased rail safety on oil train cars. “The feds need to know we mean business and expect them to issue the most stringent regulations possible,” Schumer said in a statement. “The people who live in these communities, who want to see tough, new safety standards, cannot wait on the grating gears of bureaucracy.” And on March 24, trustees from the town of Cold Spring unanimously passed a resolution expressing concern over oil trains and barges along and on the Hudson River. Read the full story in the Register Star.