SENATOR GIPSON URGES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO TAKE ACTION ON OIL TRANSPORTATION ALONG HUDSON
POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – New York State Senator Terry Gipson (D-Dutchess, Putnam) has issued a letter to federal representatives urging the federal government to take “immediate, concrete and substantial action to protect our communities, our environment and our economy from the very real and ongoing risks of crude oil transportation on railways, specifically along the Hudson River.”
“The economies of our communities in the Hudson Valley are dependent upon a healthy and protected river,” said Senator Gipson. “The Hudson Valley plays a crucial role in our tourism industry that generates $4.7 billion into the Hudson Valley’s economy and makes up 6 percent of employment in our region. Additionally, the Village of Rhinebeck, Town of Poughkeepsie and the City of Poughkeepsie are reliant upon the Hudson River for their drinking water. We can’t risk a derailment along the Hudson River and gamble with our future.”
In the letter, Senator Gipson highlighted that despite a string of recent derailments in New York State involving railcars transporting crude oil, the state has been lucky compared to other areas. He pointed to the derailment and explosion of a train carrying crude oil in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia on April 30th, 2014, which spilled oil into the James River. Even more recently, on May 9th, 2014, a train carrying crude oil outside of Denver, Colorado was involved in an accident in which six cars derailed spilling approximately 6,500 gallons of crude oil.
Senator Gipson urged the Federal Government to take the following steps: immediately ban, with an emergency order, the use of DOT-111s in transporting crude oil of any kind, in favor of safer 112 and 114 railcars, designed to carry flammable gases; immediately issue new rules implementing the baseline National Transportation Safety Board safety recommendations for crude oil transport by rail; immediately initiate an open, public process for developing new rules and regulations for train safety, spill response, rail operations and oversight, and public notification of risk for all energy-by-rail transportation.
Senator Gipson concluded, “These steps will ensure that the needed transportation of crude oil continues, while taking the necessary steps to protect the communities along the Hudson River and across the nation where crude oil is transported through. New York State, along with other states must work together with the federal government on this important issue.”
On January 28, 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an Executive Order recognizing that crude oil transportation in New York State presents an ongoing major risk to New York communities and the environment.