NY asks feds to update oil spill response plans

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 24, 2014 at 6:09 pm •  Published: March 24, 2014
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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York officials asked the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday to update a contingency plan for dealing with oil spills amid the rapid expansion of rail shipments of crude oil from North Dakota across New York to coastal refineries.

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens sent a letter Monday to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. He said under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the EPA is responsible for creating Inland Area Contingency Plans to improve preparedness for oil spills.

A review of crude oil rail safety ordered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January found immediate action was needed by the EPA to update contingency plans and develop response plans for environmentally sensitive areas, Martens said.

Cuomo directed state agencies to do a comprehensive review of safety procedures and emergency response preparedness related to shipments of crude from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota in light of a series of rail disasters last year, including one in Quebec that killed 47 people. The agencies are to report by the end of April on their findings.

EPA spokeswoman Mary Mears said the agency will review the DEC letter and respond to the specific requests.

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