ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – A new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration says the amount of crude oil being shipped by rail through New York state has increased. This includes Bakken crude oil, a highly volatile version of crude oil.
Because of this, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer is pushing the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Transportation to pass safety regulations that would help stabilize Bakken crude oil before being shipped via rail.
Schumer is pushing for these regulations because crude oil from North Dakota is increasingly making its way to refineries in New Jersey via New York state. With the state rail system either passing through or near major population centers, Schumer believes the damage caused by the derailment of a train transporting volatile crude oil could be mitigated if the oil is stabilized before shipping.
“We can’t wait any longer, we need DOT to stop dragging their feet, to implement these safety rules, and make us safer still,” Schumer said. “We’ve been able to get some things done, but we need to do this to make sure that, God forbid, there’s not a terrible explosion because of a derailment in a heavily populated part of upstate New York.”
Schumer says the DOT has made efforts to mitigate damage that could arise from a derailment, issuing new standards for tank cars and phasing out older ones. But, in the wake of previous derailment incidents, including one in Quebec in 2013, Schumer is pushing for better stabilization of the crude in those tank cars.
Schumer said action is needed now to prevent future losses of lives and property. “It hasn’t happened in New York … but it will, sooner or later, if we don’t do something.”