In the News  Archive

Environmentalists release oil train safety report

May 29, 2015
By Allison Carey

PORT KENT, N.Y. — Environmentalists from across New York and Vermont converged in Port Kent on Thursday to discuss the threats as they see them of transporting tar sands oil across North Country railways.

“We are playing Russian roulette with the health of the lake. An oil spill into the lake would be absolutely catastrophic,” Jim Murphy, of the National Wildlife Federation, said.

Watch this story

The newly released report details the potential threats of transporting tar sands oil -- a volatile type of fossil fuel -- through the Champlain Valley and Adirondack region.

The report stated that each week, tens of millions of gallons of conventional crude oil are already being transported along Lake Champlain's western banks.

“Until the safety regulations for moving rail and moving oil by pipes are brought up to standards that are adequate and safe -- which they never can be -- but they need to be much more adequate and safe than they are now, there should be a moratorium on oil by rail along the lake,” said Murphy.

Meantime, Global Partners, a Massachusetts-based company, is taking steps to increase the amount and types of fuel transported from Canada to Albany by rail. The company's proposal is pending state regulators' approval.

Environmentalists admit it would be difficult to prevent the transportation of oil through the region by rail, so they're focusing their attention on the safety of the railway infrastructure.

“The newest bridge on this route was built thirteen years before I was born. The oldest was built about 10 years after the Civil War,” said John Sheehan, of the Adirondack Council.

Another problem for environmentalist is that Canadian Pacific Railway conducts most of the railroad safety training in the Empire State.

“And that's always troubling to me, when we have somebody in charge that is not beholden to the New York state tax payer and not beholden to the voters of the state,” Sheehan said.

Click HERE for the environmentalists’ full report.

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