ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — State and federal inspectors have completed a second round of safety checks of train tracks and oil tanker cars in an effort to prevent disastrous derailments and spills of volatile crude from North Dakota's Bakken region.
The inspection blitz, which generally found only minor and easily correctable defects, is part of a proactive safety effort launched in January after several severe accidents across the U.S. and Canada, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.
Cuomo, a Democrat, issued an executive order on Jan. 29 directing several state agencies to conduct top-to-bottom reviews of safety procedures and emergency response preparedness related to rail, ship and barge transport of crude oil. The agencies are to report by the end of April with recommendations.
"Our preparedness and response plans must be adequate ahead of time, not after tragedy strikes," Cuomo said.
The Port of Albany has become a major hub for shipment of North Dakota crude to coastal refineries, with mile-long trains of tanker cars arriving daily through the heart of the city to deliver crude oil for transfer to ships and barges traveling down the Hudson River to New Jersey.
On Wednesday, the state Department of Transportation inspected three rail yards around Albany and two in the Buffalo area. Federal Railroad Administration inspectors participated. They inspected brakes and other safety equipment on tanker cars, rails, ties and other equipment.
The inspectors also looked at valves, cargo placards and record-keeping.
Continue reading this story on the...