Repost from the White Plains NY Journal News on LoHud.com
State launches “inspection blitz” of rail facilities hauling crude oil
The sites include rail yards in Albany and Buffalo, the Port of Albany and its rail yard, as well as tracks and the tank cars that haul the volatile oil.
The inspections are the latest government effort to address growing concerns about increased shipments of crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota. The oil travels over approximately 1,000 miles of New York, from Buffalo in the west, down from Quebec to the north and south through the Hudson Valley headed for refineries along the East Coast and Canada.
“We are taking action to safeguard our communities from the potential risk of crude oil shipments by launching more aggressive and enhanced enforcement of rail safety,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday. “This inspection blitz has resulted in immediate improvements to some of the state’s busiest rail sites.”
Earlier this week, inspectors from the state Department of Transportation and officials from the Federal Railroad Administration visited the Kenwood Rail Yard in Albany, owned by Canadian Pacific Railway, and the CSX-owned Frontier Rail Yard in Buffalo.
A locomotive hauling a 97-car oil train derailed on Tuesday on CSX’s River Line near Kingston. The 130-mile line, which runs through Rockland, averages about 14 oil trains a week, carrying tens of millions of gallons of Bakken crude.
The state said it inspected 198 DOT-111 type tank cars and three locomotives at the CSX yard. Two of the tank cars had wheel defects, and a few others were found with brake shoe defects. The DOT-111 cars are known to rupture in accidents, and many have called on them to be retrofitted or replaced.
At Kenwood Rail Yard, the joint team found three defective wheels and three defective brake shoes on the DOT-111s. Those defects must be addressed before the cars can leave the yard, the state said.
On Friday, the state Department of Environmental Conservation also began inspecting Global Partners’ major oil storage facility at the Port of Albany. The process is expected to last several weeks.
The inspections of other rail facilities will continue over the coming months.