You are on page 1of 3

For Immediate Release:

March 24, 2015

Contact: Phil Steck


518-455-5931
518-573-3173

***Press Release***

Assemblymember Steck Identifies High Risk Incidents in Albany,


Montgomery and Schenectady Counties from Crude Oil Transport
Schenectady, NY Assemblymember Phil Steck today identified numerous locations where significant
incidents have already occurred that show the inherent risks of transporting highly volatile explosive
oil through densely-populated residential areas, alongside our water sources, and our municipal
infrastructure.
Oil coming from the Bakken fields in North Dakota is highly flammable and explosive since it contains
volatile natural gas liquids. Assemblymember Steck has called for the stabilization of such oil
(removal of the natural gas liquids) so that it will be safe for transportation through our communities.
Past incidents show that the current situation poses a danger to residents of the Capital District.
In Montgomery County, there was a significant derailment in 2013 in the Town of Mohawk where 45
cars and 4 locomotives derailed, throwing cars onto Rt. 5 and closing a 12 mile stretch of Rt. 5 and
the Amtrak line. This is the same CSX freight line that carries the Bakken crude oil daily. USDOT has
identified the potential impact zone in case of oil train fire, more commonly known as the blast
zone, as extending a full mile to the North and South from the CSX tracks where this incident
occurred. The Rt. 5 corridor that was closed is adjacent to the Mohawk River and has residential
homes along the tracks. Cleanup and repair of Rt. 5 took two months, and cost estimates were
between $1.1 million and $1.2 million. CSX told the Federal Railroad Administration the derailment
injured two people both train engineers and caused $820,710 worth of equipment damage plus
$467,000 track damage.
It was only by luck this derailment was not a crude oil train. According to the internal investigation
by CSX, the cause was the railroad equivalent of a driver running a red light, causing the two trains to
sideswipe each other, throwing cars onto Rt. 5. - said Assemblymember Steck Had this been a
Bakken crude carrying trains, it would have been twice the size of the incident that occurred in West
Virginia.
According to USDOT, crude oil train traffic has increased more than 4,000 percent in the last five
years. NYSDOT stated that 47% of all train derailments are a result of human factors. Montgomery
County has an average of 28 crude oil trains traversing it weekly.

Had this been a train carrying Bakken Crude Oil, this outcome of this would have been much
different. USDOT has identified the blast area around these tracks extending well into the Mohawk
River, residential homes and our state and local infrastructure. said Assemblymember Steck: The
issue this raises for me is just how vulnerable we actually are.
In 2005, a CSX train derailed right in downtown Amsterdam, sending 18 cars off the tracks including
one that landed in the Mohawk River. The 84-car train mangled east- and westbound tracks when it
jumped the rails sending boxcars slamming into each other and forcing suspension of all freight and
passenger rail traffic between Albany and Syracuse. Several of the cars narrowly missed a warehouse.
The accident occurred just east of the Route 30 bridge that connects Amsterdam to Interstate 90.
The accident is dwarfed by a derailment that occurred in Fonda in December 1995, when 51 cars
were knocked off the rails. One of those had been carrying sodium hydroxide that spilled into nearby
farmland and forced the evacuation of homes.
The combination of densely-populated communities alongside the freight rail lines transporting
highly-volatile Bakken crude oil, the sharp increase in the volume of this train traffic, as well as the
length of these trains, is a disaster-in-waiting. said Assemblymember Steck These are only a few
of the derailments throughout the Capital Region in recent years, they do not even take into account
the number of accidents with cars and other incidents on the tracks.
In Rotterdam in 2006, a UPS train derailed on the same CSX main line that runs through Rotterdam
into the Selkirk yard. 30 cars of the 137 car train derailed, closing both lines of the main line track
and rerouting train traffic over 3 separate rail lines.
In the City of Schenectady in 2006, a freight train derailed where Altamont Avenue crosses over the
tracks. Six train cars jumped the tracks with five of them toppling over and closing the street. This
is a densely-populated urban area with businesses and residential developments in every direction,
as well as recreational facilities and significant city infrastructure.
Schenectady County has 28 crude oil trains running through the County weekly. When derailments
occur, train traffic can be rerouted right through Rotterdam and downtown Schenectady. - said
Assemblymember Steck I recently requested the list of track and tanker defects found in Albany,
Montgomery and Schenectady Counties that were discovered during the 2013 and 2014 blitz
inspections, and they are eye-opening indeed.
Since 2013, Assemblymember Steck has been speaking out about the transport of highly flammable
Bakken Crude Oil through the 110th Assembly District. Assemblymember Steck has been quoted in
the Bloomberg News, Wall Street Journal, Gannet News, the Times Union, Washington Post,
Democrat and Chronicle, Grand Forks Herald, The Columbian, Benicia Independent, The Journal
News, Rochester Sun Times, Business News Network, Metroland, Capital New York, as well as
numerous Canadian publications, speaking out about the issue of crude oil trains and as well calling
for stabilization.
The risk is far too great to continue this practice without stringent safeguards in place. I have called
for the stabilization of this oil since last September when I sent a letter of testimony, with the support
of numerous state and local legislators, to the North Dakota Industrial Commission for use in a
hearing on Bakken crude oil safety. I sent a letter to Commissioner Martens (NYSDEC) and

Commissioner McDonald (NYSDOT), advising them of my testimony and how this issue significantly
affects my district, in addition to writing the United States Department of Transportations Pipeline
and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration calling again for stabilization. said
Assemblymember Steck. The issue first came to my attention since giant oil trains, some as lone as
155 cars long, were blocking access to communities along the Hudson River, preventing emergency
vehicles from transporting stricken residents to the hospital. Derailments throughout our nation and
Canada then caused our office to focus on the flammability of the oil trains carrying Bakken crude.
The following is a list of track and tanker defects by county and rail carrier for Albany, Montgomery
and Schenectady Counties as provided by NYSDOT external relations:
Track Inspections
2013
CSX (Albany County)
Inspections conducted in 2013-(16)
Defects noted in 2013(54)
CSX (Schenectady County)
Inspections conducted in 2013-(17)
Defects noted in 2013(16)
CSX (Montgomery County)
Inspections conducted in 2013(3)
Defects noted in 2013-- (9)
2014
CSX (Albany County)
Inspections conducted in 2014-(30)
Defects noted in 2014(96)
CSX (Schenectady County)
Inspections conducted in 2014(7)
Defects noted in 2014(20)
CSX (Montgomery County)
Inspections conducted in 2014(6)
Defects noted in 2014(32)
2013
CP Rail (Albany County)
Inspections conducted in 2013(4)
Defects noted in 2013(22)
CP Rail (Schenectady County)
Inspections conducted in 2013(4)
Defects noted in 2013(39)
CP Rail (Montgomery County)
No track in this county.
2014
CP Rail (Albany County)
Inspections conducted in 2014(10)
Defects noted in 2014(50)
CP Rail (Schenectady County)
Inspections conducted in 2014(6)
Defects noted in 2014(14)
CP Rail (Montgomery County)
No track in this county

Rail Car Inspections:


2013
CSX-Albany County
Inspections 13
Cars Inspected592
Tank Car Defects26
CSX-Schenectady County
Inspections8
Cars Inspected257
Tank Car Defects3
CSX-Montgomery County
No rail car inspections performed.
CP Rail-Albany County
Inspections4
Cars Inspected
438
Tank Car Defects
10
CP Rail-Schenectady County
Inspections5
Cars Inspected
158
Tank Car Defects
7
CP Rail-Montgomery County
No rail car inspections performed.
2014
CSX-Albany County
Inspections7
Cars Inspected
457
Tank Car Defects
13
CSX-Schenectady County
Inspections9
Cars Inspected322
Tank Car Defects3
CSX-Montgomery County
No rail car inspections performed.
CP Rail-Albany County
Inspections29
Cars Inspected
1506
Tank Car Defects
95
CP Rail- Schenectady County
Inspections1
Cars Inspected
33
Tank Car Defects
0
CP Rail-Montgomery County
No rail car inspections performed

~30~