ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — While the Cuomo administration steps up firefighter training in preparation for any potential oil train disaster, at least one community group is skeptical the effort will protect residents near rail lines from crude oil explosions and fires.
Albany firefighters Wednesday hosed foam on propane-fueled flames shooting from a tanker rigged as a training prop behind the city's trash recycling plant, as part of a two-day emergency preparedness exercise.
James Cable of the state Division of Homeland Security said the drill was one of dozens held around the state each year to train for fires involving flammable liquids, including ethanol, gasoline, and now crude oil shipped by rail from North Dakota's Bakken Shale to coastal refineries.
The federal government says nine oil train derailments have occurred in the U.S. and Canada since March of last year. The latest was last week, when a CSX train carrying Bakken crude derailed in Lynchburg, Virginia, sending three tank cars into a river and shooting flames into the air. No one was injured.
In the past two years, Albany's port on the Hudson River has become a major hub for rail and barge shipments of Bakken crude. Mile-long trains of oil tankers moving through densely populated neighborhoods have raised concerns among residents and local officials. They fear a fiery derailment like the ones seen elsewhere in the past year.
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