Tag Archives: New York

Roundup of Actions Against Fossil Fuel Infrastructure in Vermont and NY (PHOTOS)

Repost from EarthFirst! Newswire

Roundup of Actions Against Fossil Fuel Infrastructure in Vermont and NY (PHOTOS)

July 7th, 2015


from Rising Tide Vermont

* 150+ w/dozens occupying the tracks in Ticonderoga to ‪#‎StopOilTrains‬.
* Four arrested blockading VT fracked gas pipeline construction.
* TWAC still locked down to CNG truck on way to IP mill.

Disrupting Vermont Gas Systems


from Burlington Free Press

About 30 protesters disrupted work at a Vermont Gas Systems construction site in Williston on Tuesday morning.

Four protesters were arrested on suspicion that they unlawfully trespassed to stop work at the construction site, said Williston police Chief Todd Shepard. Williston police had given protesters until 7 a.m. to move.

Vermont State Police, Essex police and South Burlington police were also on scene. Shepard said about 14 law enforcement representatives had arrived by the end of the protest.

Thomas Buckley, 34, of Westford and Martha Waterman, 25, of Charlotte chained themselves together across a ditch digging machine. Avery Pittman, 25, of Burlington was later also chained to Waterman.


Buckley, Waterman and Pittman were taken into custody before 9 a.m. Grayson Flory, 28, of Los Angeles was also arrested after refusing to leave the site at 310 Hurricane Lane.

All protesters arrested were carried from the site by law enforcement, but they did not actively resist arrest otherwise, Shepard said.

Each protester has been released from police custody and issued a citation to appear on Thursday in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington, Shepard said.

Occupation of the Tracks

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from Rising Tide Vermont: More than a hundred people converged in Ticonderoga, NY today for a flotilla and symbolic blockade to ‪#StopOilTrains.


Yesterday marked the second anniversary of the Lac-Megantic oil train disaster, in which a train carrying fracked oil exploded and leveled the small Quebec town, killing 47 people.

In the so-called Champlain valley, tens of millions of gallons of fracked oil are transported annually along the lake, and industry is making plans to start bringing tar sands through.


TWAC Throws Down

from Rising Tide Vermont: “Our friends at the Trans and/or Women’s Action Camp (TWAC) also stopped a truck on its way to deliver compressed fracked natural gas to International Paper. One person has locked their body to the back of the truck preventing it from making a delivery. Fracked gas by truck is just as dirty and dangerous as fracked gas in a pipeline!”

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(TWAC is a group of activists who identify as Trans*, Transgender, Genderqueer, and Gender non-conforming as well as anyone who identifies as a woman regardless of whether they were assigned female at birth)

Released from Jail!!!

The four people who were arrested this morning blocking the construction of the fracked gas pipeline have all been released. Please share and donate to our legal fund to support this fierce escalation of resistance against extreme energy! Donate to our legal fund at: http://bit.ly/J7legal



    Riverkeeper sues U.S. DOT over oil train safety rules

    Repost from The Times Union, State College, PA
    [Editor: Note that this is a new filing, closely following the filing of May 14 by a coalition of environmental groups.  – RS]

    Riverkeeper sues U.S. DOT over oil train safety rules

    By Brian Nearing, May 18, 2015

    The Hudson River environmental advocacy group Riverkeeper is challenging new U.S. Department of Transportation crude-by-rail standards in federal court, saying that they fail to protect the public and the environment from proven threats, according to a statement issued Monday.

    The release states: Riverkeeper filed its lawsuit in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City on May 15, a little more than a week after the DOT issued a final tank car and railroad operation rule which had been the subject of scrutiny and controversy since its proposal in 2014. The suit closely follows another filed in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by a coalition of conservation and citizen groups that includes Earthjustice, Waterkeeper Alliance, ForestEthics and the Sierra Club.

    The Hudson River and the Greater New York/New Jersey region, a thoroughfare for up to 25 percent of all crude shipments originating in the Bakken shale oil region, faces a daily risk of spills and explosions that could devastate communities, local economies, drinking water security, and the environment.

    “These seriously flawed standards all but guarantee that there will be more explosive derailments, leaving people and the environment at grave risk,” Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay said. “The shortcomings are numerous, including an inadequate speed limit, unprotective tank car design, and time line that would allow these dangerous tank cars 10 more years on the rails. The DOT completely fails to recognize that we’re in the middle of a crisis – we don’t need bureaucratic half measures that are years away from implementation, we need common-sense protections today.”

    Just this month, tank cars laden with crude oil derailed and exploded in Heimdal, North Dakota. Under the new DOT standards, the same type of cars that exploded in that disaster could stay in service hauling volatile crude oil for another five to eight years, or even indefinitely if they are used for tar sands.

    Over the past several years, a series of fiery derailments, toxic spills, and explosions involving volatile crude and ethanol rail transport has caused billions in damages across North America. Crude-by-rail accidents threaten irreversible damage to waterways, many of which, like the Hudson River, serve as the source of drinking water for tens of thousands of people. This year alone,six oil-by-rail shipments have caught fire and exploded in North America. In July 2013, a derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, killed 47 people. The total liabilities for that rail disaster could easily reach $2.7 billion over the next decade.

    Here are some of the ways the new safety standards fail to protect people and the environment:

    • Hazardous cars carrying volatile crude oil can remain in service for up to 10 years.

    • The rule rolls back public notification requirements, leaving communities and first responders in the dark about explosive crude oil tank cars rumbling through their towns.

    • While new tank cars will require thicker shells to mitigate punctures and leaks, retrofit tank cars will be allowed to stay in use with a less protective design standard.

    • Speed limits have been restricted only for “high threat urban areas,” but only two areas in New York have received that designation, Buffalo and New York City.

    • The “high threat” category relates to cities seen as vulnerable to terrorist attacks by the Department of Homeland Security. It is unrelated to actual risks posed by crude-by-rail.


      All-Republican NY county unanimous in opposing Bakken oil trains and barges along Hudson River

      Repost from the Philipstown.info, Cold Spring & Philipstown NY

      Putnam Legislature Opposes Oil Trains, MTA Tax

      By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong, April 14, 2015

      With little ado, the Putnam County Legislature last Wednesday (April 8) opposed two train-transit practices, one involving freight traffic — the unsafe shipping of incendiary crude oil along the Hudson River; and the other involving commuter lines — the levying of taxes to support the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, whose trains carry numerous county residents to work every day.

      By 8-0 votes (with one member absent), the legislature urged New York State to revoke permits that allow volatile oil to travel on the Hudson and to reverse its finding that expanding an Albany oil transportation terminal raises no “significant” concerns. It likewise sought the repeal of the MTA taxes on payrolls and vehicles.

      In other business at its formal monthly meeting, the legislature unanimously opted to legalize limited use of sparklers, popular Fourth of July “pyrotechnic” devices.

      Barges and ‘bomb’ trains

      In addressing the so-called “bomb” train question, the all-Republican legislature added its voice to a growing, bipartisan chorus of local governments in the Hudson Valley opposing the use of rail lines along the river, as well as barges, to move highly explosive oil without adequate safeguards. The legislature devoted much of a committee meeting in February to a background discussion of the issue. (See County Committee to Draft Call for Action on Bomb Trains.)

      Its resolution, to be sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislative officials, refers to use of “unacceptably dangerous” rail cars to move Bakken shale oil and heavy tar-sands oil, which originate in North Dakota and Alberta, Canada, and are more hazardous than other forms of fuel. The resolution says that daily two to three oil trains, each with 3 million gallons, travel down the western side of the Hudson, opposite Putnam. It points out that recent oil-train derailments in the United States and Canada caused “loss of property and significant environmental and economic damage” as well as, in one case, 47 deaths.

      The resolution notes that one oil company, Global Partners LP, proposes to expand its oil terminals in Newburgh and New Windsor, across the Hudson from Putnam County, which could “double the number of trains and marine vessels” carrying such dangerous fuel along the Hudson, despite the presence of designated Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitats in the Hudson Highlands, Fishkill Creek and elsewhere. A similar expansion is proposed for an Albany facility, the legislature stated.

      The resolution also declares that:

      • Under present laws, “no collaboration must take place between the railroads and the towns through which these rail cars [go].”
      • “There have been no spill-response drills in Putnam County waters.”
      • “Putnam County’s shorelines include private residences and businesses, public parks, and critical public infrastructure at significant risk in the case of a crude-oil spill” and that “tourism based on a clean environment is an important part of Putnam County’s economy.”

      The legislature asked the state “to immediately revoke permits … allowing for the transport of up to 2.8 billion gallons per year of crude oil on the Hudson River [and] order full environmental impact studies, including the potential impacts of a crude oil spill in the Hudson River affecting Putnam County shoreline property, environmental resources, and drinking water.”

      It similarly urged the state to rescind a “negative declaration of significance” on expansion of Albany oil operations and “order a full, integrated environmental impact study of the proposed expansion” of oil terminals in New Windsor and Newburgh, as well as Albany. Under present laws, “no collaboration must take place between the railroads and the towns through which these rail cars [go].”

      “It’s not understood” how much risk the transport of volatile oil brings, said Carl Albano, the legislature’s chairman. “It’s a major, major issue in our backyard.”

      Legislator Barbara Scuccimarra, who represents Philipstown, observed that the “bomb” trains run along the Hudson “over crumbling bridges and through towns and villages,” compounding the potential for devastation.

      “There are really no safeguards in place and it’s scary. If we were to have an explosion, it would be catastrophic,” Legislator Dini LoBue added.

      …(the article continues on other local business)…

        Former Albany Council Member: State has power to halt oil trains

        Repost from The Albany Times Union

        State has power to halt oil trains

        By Dominick Calsolaro, Letters, March 18, 2015

        A recent article (“More oil train crashes predicted,” Feb. 23) by The Associated Press says it all: “The federal government predicts that trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an average of 10 times a year over the next two decades, causing more than $4 billion in damage and possibly killing hundreds of people if an accident happens in a densely populated part of the U.S.”

        Crude oil transport by rail must be stopped in New York state, immediately. In light of the report by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the recent crude oil train derailments and explosions in Illinois and West Virginia, state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens and Gov. Andrew Cuomo can no longer hide behind the mantra that crude oil transport by rail is the federal government’s problem and the state has no authority in the matter.

        The governor and commissioner are legally required to protect the health, safety, welfare and property of citizens. U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., as well as Larry Mann, principal author of the Federal Railroad Safety Act, have publicly stated crude oil by rail is dangerous and potentially deadly. A summary abatement order by Martens to ban all rail transport of crude oil until it is proven that such transport is safe is well within Martens’ power.

        The people cannot wait for another catastrophe before our leaders take action.

        Dominick Calsolaro
        Former Albany Common Council member