ALBANY, N.Y. — Governor Andrew Cuomo sent a letter to the White House Wednesday, urging immediate federal action to strengthen national standards and regulation of crude oil transport.
Accompanying the letter was the State’s comprehensive crude oil transportation safety report, which was prepared by five state agencies in accordance with an Executive Order issued by the Governor in January.
The report details ten critical federal recommendations and presents a package of state administrative, regulatory, and legislative action.
The letter was sent just one hour before several CSX tanker cars carrying crude oil derailed Wednesday in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia. The city says at least 13 tanker cars were involved, and that three or four of them were breached. It happened just before 2 p.m.
Basil Siggos, Deputy Secretary for the Environment, said the existing tanker cars used are outdated. He said they were originally intended to carry molasses, not oil — especially not the volatile crude oil that’s coming from North Dakota.
The cars make their way through our area: Selkirk, Bethlehem and Albany. Most recently in Albany’s South End there’s been a lot of concern, specifically regarding Global Partners, a fuel shipping company with a location right in the Port of Albany.
Marisa Pizzaro is a single mother with three children. She lives off South Pearl Street. The railroad tracks run right past the front of her home.
“If that blows up, my kids’ bedroom and my bedroom is on the top, so this whole thing is going to go up,” she said. “That really scares me.”
Hours after the crash in Virginia, Global Partners announced they would voluntarily begin updating the rail cars they use beginning June 1.
Global Partners is looking to expand at their existing location. Albany Common Council members and the county executive said they are opposed to an expansion until more testing is done and further safety measures are put in place.
Read the governor’s letter in full below the comments section on this page.