Albany NY – Citizens demand “Ban the bomb trains”

Press Release from People of Albany United for Safe Energy (PAUSE)

Citizens demand “Ban the bomb trains”

Albany, NY, May 7, 2015

PAUSE - People of Albany United for Safe EnergyAt noon today, on the sidewalk in front of the Governor’s mansion on Eagle St., citizens will be calling for a ban on the trains carrying crude oil by rail in New York. Yesterday marked the fifth fiery derailment this year and the tenth explosion since 2013 when 47 people died and the town of Lac-Megantic Canada was destroyed. In chronological order the explosions are:

• July, 2013 – Lac Megantic, Canada
• November, 2013 – Aliceville, AL
• December, 2013 – Casselton, ND
• January, 2014 – New Brunswick, Canada
• April 2014 – Lynchburg, VA
• February 14, 2015 – Timmins, Ontario, Canada
• February 16, 2015 – Mount Carbon, WVA
• March 5, 2015 – Galena, IL
• March 7, 2015 – Gogama, Ontario Canada
• May 6, 2015 – Heimdal, ND

During the protest we will sign a letter asking Governor Cuomo to take all necessary steps to halt the oil trains which may include using summary abatement for receipt and storage of the oil at the Port of Albany. Under the Environmental Conservation Law, summary abatement can be invoked if an activity is deemed to be an imminent hazard.

Dominick Calsolaro of PAUSE states “It is time for Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Martens to take drastic action and ban crude oil-carrying trains from traveling through New York State. There is no way to evacuate the whole city of Albany and the additional 70,000 daily workers who commute to our Capital City should one of these trains derail and catch fire downtown.”

What we do – or don’t do – in New York also impacts those south of us in New Jersey. Rosemary Dreger Carey of 350NJ states “In New Jersey, we’re very concerned about the news of another oil train explosion in North Dakota. That makes five explosions this year. Trains carrying Bakken crude run through our major cities and suburban communities day and night. A similar accident here in the most densely populated state in the country would be unthinkable.” Paul Rogovin, also from New Jersey with the Coalition to Ban Unsafe Oil Trains, remarks “We are glad to hear that no one was injured in today’s explosion in North Dakota, but I’m not sure we’d be safe from a similar blast in New Jersey. The new rules issued by the DOT this week give the industry three to five years to improve their cars, and several years more to upgrade their breaks. That’s unacceptable. Accidents don’t wait to happen. People are in danger now. Trains carrying highly volatile Bakken crude oil should be banned.”

Charley Bowen of the Western New York Peace Center in Buffalo agrees “We are glad no human life was lost. However, the residents of every house, village, town and city living nearby a rail line carrying explosive Bakken crude oil remain at risk of loss of life, limb and property. It’s a shame that public policy continues to support expensive fossil fuels to the detriment of humans and the environment when cheaper and infinitely safer renewable sources of energy are readily available. Gov Andrew Cuomo should act immediately to protect NY State residents, its environment and its increasingly precious aquifers. He should immediately invoke his summary abatement powers to stop the transport of dangerous Bakken crude oil in New York State. ”

Sandy Steubing of PAUSE concludes “At this rate the people of New York cannot wait another month, let alone years. There will always be human error and mechanical failures. There will always be train derailments. However, there can be no margin for error with a substance that is this volatile. Fortunately, world class scientists have proven we can rapidly phase out all fossil fuels.”

An energy feasibility study from Stanford and Cornell concludes that New York can derive 100% of its energy needs including transportation from the renewable sources of wind, water, and solar. Dr. Robert Pollin from the Political Economy Research Inst. of UMass Amherst has found that for a million dollar investment we can achieve five oil/gas jobs or thirteen solar jobs. Let us move away from a 19th century mode of transportation, carrying a 20th century energy source, into the 21st century of renewables.