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Derailment “stark reminder” of potential danger, says Schumer

WASHINGTON - Tuesday’s derailment of a locomotive pulling empty oil tank cars near Kingston on Tuesday was a “stark reminder” of the potential danger of freight trains hauling crude oil in older DOT-111 cars, Senator Charles Schumer said Wednesday.

That accident, near a shopping plaza in the Town of Ulster, was minor compared to other recent incidents including the Lac-Megantic, Quebec explosion last year and a derailment near Cheektowaga.

Schumer would like rail line companies to voluntarily begun the replacement or upgrades to the so-called unsafe DOT-111 tanker cars as well as modifying a speed regulation which requires reduced speed from 50 to 40 miles an hour only in New York City and Buffalo where anti-terrorism money is allocated.

“A train going fast through Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Albany, Newburgh, and the Hudson Valley, goes through highly populated areas even if those aren’t the number one or two targets for terrorism in New York State,” he said.

Schumer said while rail transport of crude oil to ports like Albany and New York City is a good means of transportation in lieu of pipelines, but it has to be safer.

Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D, NY17) has called for stronger safety standards for rail transport of crude oil after several recent incidents in the region including Tuesday’s derailment near Kingston. The train had traveled north through Lowey’s Rockland County district before making its way up the Mid-Hudson region into Ulster County.

“When it comes to the transport of crude oil by rail, we have had too many close calls that demonstrate the real risk to public safety and our environment,” Lowey said. “While the railroad industry and the Department of Transportation have taken some good steps by agreeing to voluntary safety standards, the federal government must ensure that enforceable regulations protect the public.

From better planned routes to more comprehensive response plans to shared information with our local first responders and safer tank cars, more must be done to protect the public and prevent a major incident.”