DEC launches air quality monitoring project at Ezra Prentice housing development

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – People in the South End of Albany have been raising concerns about the amount of train and diesel truck traffic in their community for years.

Thursday, people living at the Ezra Prentice Apartments got an update about what is being done about the high levels of crude oil traffic coming dangerously close to their homes.

The train yard is close to some of the apartment buildings. Trains go by and it could be felt how much they shake the buildings.

People living here heard about some things that could change.

“It’s a constant, constant, constant, constant reminder that we have to smell and endure these odors every day,” Deneen Carter-El said.

Carter-El has lived in the Ezra Prentice Apartments for more than 20 years.

“It’s really hard for me because sometimes I’m scared to come outside,” Carter-El said. “I don’t open my windows most of the time.”

She says she’s suffered health complications from the fumes of the trains and trucks that constantly come past the apartments.

“I’ve been sick,” Carter-El said. “I’ve lost two organs behind this and each of them was cancer related.”

Her real concern is for her 8-year-old daughter who waits for the bus everyday, just a short distance from the train yard.

“We have to literally stand there and breathe in the toxic air, and she smells it just as well as I smell it,” Carter-El said.

The DEC is now planning to install a $500,000 air monitoring system by March.

“We are in the final stages of procurement for this advanced state of the art equipment which frankly has never been used in and application like this,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said.

Plus, there’s a study on the diesel truck traffic to see if there’s a way to reroute them.

“There is a solution and coming together, we can come up with that solution,” Albany Common Council President, Carolyn McLaughlin, said.

The big concern for Albany County Executive Dan McCoy reaches far beyond this community.
“What scares me is this new president being elected is a businessman and he’s going to be pro oil and pro trains,” McCoy said.

Major Diesel distributor Global released a statement saying:

Global is committed to doing our part to maintain the highest health and safety standards for the surrounding residents and our employees.”

Carter-El says she won’t believe it until she sees it.

“I continue to listen and listen, and say okay, okay, okay, but when is it going to happen?” Carter-El said.

People here also say they wish they could move, but it’s just too expensive.

A spokesperson from Global Partners says they are no longer bringing crude oil through Albany. Another meeting is scheduled for next week so people who live here can find out how the air monitoring system will work.

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