Onondaga County Emergency Management officials say there has been an increased focus on how to respond to any potential incident involving a train carrying crude oil. The volume of shipments of volatile crude from North Dakota on what critics have called flawed, outdated tank cars has skyrocketed through the county on its way to the Port of Albany.
That’s raised concerns from federal, state, and city officials about the danger and ability to respond.
Onondaga County Commissioner of Emergency Management Kevin Wisely explains how they're working with CSX railroad to prepare for any incident that may occur, including derailment of oil tank cars.
Wisely says he's also been on conference calls with state officials, and Gov. Cuomo has commissioned a task force to review incident prevention response capacity specific to crude oil. He says the state is also working with the Federal Railroad Agency to inspect rails.
Concerns surrounding rail car transport of flammable oils and gases have motivated Syracuse Common Councilor Jean Kessner to push for tighter regulations. This news comes after Senator Chuck Schumer's critique of a recent rail safety initiative, agreed to by the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Association of American Railroads on February 20, 2014.
Sen. Chuck Schumer holds a news conference in Armory Square with the railroad in the background that carries hundreds of tankers every day. Also with him are Onondaga County Dept. of Emergency Management Commissioner Kevin Wisely and Mayor Stephanie Miner.