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Adirondack Council Honors Comptroller DiNapoli

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John Sheehan
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, February 8, 2018

NEW YORK, N.Y. – More than 65 supporters of the Adirondack Council gathered at a private club in midtown Manhattan last week to honor NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli for his efforts to persuade Warren Buffett to remove railroad oil tankers cars from the Adirondack Park, and for his environmental leadership.

Dozens of obsolete Union Tank Car oil tankers were stored on a railroad track located on the Adirondack Forest Preserve, between North Creek and Newcomb, by Iowa Pacific Holdings LLC, which hold a temporary easement allowing it to operate the line.  IPH was supposed to haul freight on the line, but its plans failed.  Instead, it decided it would store junked oil tankers for a fee.

“We got nowhere when we urged Iowa Pacific to remove the oil cars from the Forest Preserve,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway.  “That worried us because the oil tankers threaten water quality and wildlife, and they harm the scenic beauty of forests where the state has spent tens of millions of dollars promotion wilderness tourism.  Since Iowa Pacific wasn’t listening, we decided to talk with the owners of the rails cars being stored.

“Tom DiNapoli immediately understood the stakes and fired off a letter to Warren Buffett, whose company Berkshire Hathaway owns the Union Tank Car company,” Janeway said.  “He reminded Buffett that New York’s pension fund owns more than five million shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock, so it has a stake in the company’s performance and its good name.  His letter noted that Iowa Pacific’s oil train junkyard could hurt Berkshire Hathaway’s reputation and affect its earnings.”

Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pressing a complaint with the federal Surface Transportation Board and issued a cease-and-desist letter to Iowa Pacific telling the company to stop storing junked oil cars while the case is being heard.  U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer has also sent a letter to the STB, urging it to remove the junkyard if Iowa Pacific continues to refuse.

To commemorate the event, the Council presented Comptroller DiNapoli with a print of an 1868 painting of Boreas Ponds, which is expected to become an addition to the High Peaks Wilderness Area this year.  The original painting by James Craig Nicoll is owned by Council member Phillippe Laumont, who donated the print for the award.

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/images/painting_small.jpgNYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli received a print of an 1868 painting of Boreas Ponds by Hudson River School painter
James Craig Nicoll from the Adirondack Council in recognition of his environmental leadership.  Boreas Ponds is slated to
become part of the state’s High Peaks Wilderness Area.  DiNapoli helped persuade an oil company owned by Warren
Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway to remove its obsolete oil tankers from the Adirondack Park.
Photo by Jonathan Grandchamp

Also honored at the event were NYS Asst. Atty. Gen. Lemuel Slrovic, who directs the Environmental Protection Bureau for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.  Lem’s team is pressing the STB complaint for New York, in consultation with Allison Fultz of Kaplan, Kirsch & Rockwell, in Washington, D.C. 

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/images/train_gang_small.jpgL-R: Adirondack Council Chairman Robert Kafin thanks Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Asst. Atty. Gen. Lemuel Slrovic, and
railroad lawyer Allison Fultz of Washington, D.C., all of whom helped to persuade the Union Tank Car Company to remove
its obsolete oil tankers from the Adirondack Park, where they were being stored by on railroad tracks next to the scenic
Boreas River.
Photo by Jonathan Grandchamp

Fultz had previously represented the Adirondack Council in the Council’s efforts to halt the oil train junkyard. 

The Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park.  The Council envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, comprised of core wilderness areas, surrounded by farms and working forests, as well as vibrant communities.

The Adirondack Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action.  Adirondack Council members live in all 50 United States.

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