December 26, 2015

Schneiderman - Oil Trains and Lift of Export Ban of Oil

Early in December NY Attorney General issued a press release calling for the federal government to close loopholes that put New Yorkers at serious risk from the transportation of crude oil by trains through our communities.  Because of the busy holiday season, many people may have missed this important call for strict regulations.
The Attorney General called on the federal government to close a loophole that allows highly flammable crude oil to be shipped by rail through communities in New York and across the country. These trains traverse approximately 700 miles across the state, and carry up to 3.5 million gallons of crude oil. Yet currently, there is no federal limit on the vapor pressure of crude oil transported by rail—a key driver of the oil’s explosiveness and flammability. At a time when we have already seen dangerous explosions and disasters involving crude oil rail shipments, we must ensure that communities all across the state that are in harm’s way are protected
The full text of the press release can be found here: http://ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-petitions-federal-government-reduce-dangers-crude-oil-shipped-rail 
According to the Association of American Railroads, crude oil shipments by rail increased from 9,500 carloads in 2008 to 493,126 carloads in 2014, representing an increase of over 5,000 percent.  It has been reported that up to 44 “unit trains” – chains of 70 to 120 tank cars – travel on rail routes that bisect New York each week, each carrying from 2 to 3.5 million gallons of crude oil. 
and that was BEFORE  the oil export ban was lifted by Congress at the end of December!
On Friday, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed into law a $1.8 trillion government spending and tax relief bill that included repealing the four-decade-old export ban, which barred shipments to countries other than Canada. The Department of Commerce issued an official notice on Tuesday saying companies no longer need to apply for licenses to export crude.
Now, more than ever - We need strong regulatory  protections from oil train pipelines in our neighborhoods!

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