Rail cars transport crude oil across 1,000 miles of New York State’s freight rail network. Some of the crude from rail cars is transferred to oil-carrying barges traversing the Hudson River and it travels through communities along the river ending in New York Harbor. The crude oil shipments present significant public health, financial, environmental, and public safety risks to numerous residential and commercial centers, and sensitive resources, including drinking water sources, located along shipping routes. The risk is heightened for municipalities, like the City of Albany, that host crude oil transfer, storage and processing facilities.
This legislation requires companies operating facilities that handle crude oil to provide advance notice when crude oil is being transported by rail to their facilities located within New York State. At a minimum, the notices must include the type and volume of crude oil being transported, region of origin, and the anticipated route and time of delivery to major facilities. This information will be available to state and local emergency response agencies to ensure first responders are prepared to appropriately react to the potential health, safety and environmental impacts of rail accidents involving crude oil of any type. Additionally, it will provide the public access to information which is currently not available through quarterly postings on the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) website.
This bill amends the Navigation Law to require all major oil facilities to provide advance notice when crude oil is being transported by rail to their facilities operating within New York State. The legislation requires the Department of Environmental Conservation to make oil-by-rail shipping information available to emergency response agencies and make such information available to the public on the Department’s web site on a quarterly basis.