New York: Action needed to prevent rail disasters

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 30, 2014 at 5:46 pm •  Published: April 30, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Several New York agencies are recommending action at the state and federal levels to help prevent rail disasters during shipments of crude oil like the accidents that have occurred in other states and Canada.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent the agencies' report Wednesday to the White House, along with a letter urging swift action on four measures, including the removal of outdated rupture-prone tanker cars from service.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer also called on the U.S. Department of Transportation to issue a rule that rail companies must share information with local first responders about the types of hazardous materials being shipped.

The calls for action coincidentally came on the same day a CSX Railroad train carrying crude oil derailed in Lynchburg, Va., causing a spill and fire.

"This is the latest in a series of accidents involving trains transporting crude oil, a startling pattern that underscores the need for action," Cuomo said.

New York has become a central route for rail transport of crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken Shale region to coastal refineries, with tens of millions of gallons passing through the state daily. In January, Cuomo directed five state agencies to evaluate New York's ability to prevent and respond to crude oil accidents. Their report identifies several measures they say the federal government should take. These include: