State's Actions on Transport of Crude Oil
On January 28, 2014, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued an executive order directing several State agencies to do a top-to-bottom review of safety procedures and emergency response preparedness related to rail and water shipments of volatile crude oil from the Bake oil fields in North Dakota and other sources. Governor Cuomo's Executive Order 125 directs DEC, the Department of Transportation, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, the Department of Health, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to take action to strengthen the State's oversight of shipments of petroleum products.
In response, these agency commissioners sent a letter to several federal agencies (PDF) urging new federal regulations regarding rail transportation to help protect New York communities.
On March 4, Governor Cuomo sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Foxx and Homeland Security Secretary Johnson urging federal officials to expedite and strengthen rail safety standards, require reporting by railroad companies of derailments, increase inspections and more clearly identify and track rail cars carrying crude oil.
On March 24, DEC Commissioner Martens sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy (PDF) asking the federal government to update spill response plans because they are outdated and need to better protect critical sensitive areas in New York State.
On April 10, DEC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) announced in a joint press release that they are committed to enhancing emergency preparedness and response capabilities for potential crude oil incidents in New York.
On April 30, Governor Cuomo sent a letter to the White House (PDF) urging immediate federal action to strengthen national standards and regulation of crude oil transport. Accompanying the letter was the State's comprehensive crude oil transportation safety report (PDF, 168 MB), which was prepared by five state agencies in accordance with Executive Order 125 issued by the Governor in January. The report details ten critical federal recommendations and presents a package of state administrative, regulatory, and legislative action. See the Governor's full press release, including a link to preparedness training photos.
Earlier this year DEC urged EPA to revise federal spill response plans to protect New York's most environmentally sensitive areas and critical infrastructure from oil spill disasters and that effort is now underway. Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, NYSDEC will continue to partner with our federal counterparts, including the U.S. EPA, to protect our residents, communities and natural resources from the growing threat of crude oil being transported through our state. As part of these efforts, DEC, EPA and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) committed to enhance emergency preparedness and response capabilities for potential crude oil incidents in New York. DEC, EPA and USCG have started to:
Review and update in 2014 the NY/NJ Area Contingency Plan, which is a plan developed by the Coast Guard, EPA and state governments to outline how they will respond to man-made or weather-related incidents that may impact human health or the environment of a geographic area. The goal is to have this update completed by the end of December 2014.
Update in 2014 the NY Inland Area Contingency Plan, which is similar to the NY/NJ Area Contingency Plan, for areas not covered by a coastal plan. The plans are compiled by EPA and DEC.
Work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to update the New York-Hudson River Area Environmental Sensitivity Index as expeditiously as possible. This index includes NOAA-maintained maps of sensitive environmental areas such as wetlands or endangered species in a specific area such as the Hudson River.
Prioritize and develop Geographic Response Plans (GRPs) across NYS working with all applicable agencies, including local agencies. These action plans are developed to protect a specific environmental resource or potential human exposure, such as a booming plan to protect a water supply from an oil spill. A GRP is both a planning document and a spill response tool that can be used to guide initial efforts in response to a major oil spill.
Increase the coordination between the EPA and DEC regarding spill prevention and storage facility inspections.
Complete unannounced preparedness exercises by EPA with DEC in high priority areas.
This agreement one in a series of actions taken by the Cuomo administration to safeguard New York's residents, communities, waterways and lands from potential serious incidents involving the increased shipment of volatile crude oil by rail or vessel in the state, including:
- issued an Executive Order directing a comprehensive assessment of safety procedures and emergency response preparedness related to the shipment of crude oil;
- written the Administrator of EPA about EPA's failure to update specific plans for response to oil spills in New York that are required by statute;
- urged federal officials to: revise design specifications and expedite the phase-out of older, unsafe rail cars; implement more stringent standards to test crude oil; and review the routing of crude oil to ensure the most appropriate routes;
- directed state agencies to implement an aggressive enforcement and inspection effort to better protect communities from train derailments carrying crude oil;
- issued fines to companies that fail to comply with current state regulations related to derailments; and
- contacted federal authorities urging them to expedite and strengthen rail safety standards and increase inspections.
On Novemember 13, 2013, DEC in collaboration with its spill response partners at the local, state and federal levels held an oil spill drill exercise at Global's New Windsor facility. The exercise was to continue the practice, examination and refinement of emergency response from each involved agency. The New Windsor Drill Spill Exercise (PDF) describes how the exercise was conducted and makes recommendations for future drill exercises.
On October 21, 2014, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens and NYS Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald sent a letter to the Governor of North Dakota (PDF) in support of proposed North Dakota state regulations changes that would require oil producers to remove volatile gases from Bakken crude oil prior to cross country shipping by rail, further protecting New Yorkers who live and work near rail lines.
Global Companies LLC Permit - Albany Terminal
DEC is considering Global Companies permit application to modify its Air Title V Facility permit to allow Global to heat petroleum products (crude, residual fuel and bio-fuels) at its Albany facility.
The draft permit was listed in the January 29, 2014 Environmental Notice Bulletin and is available for public comment.
Due to broad public and community interest in the activities, DEC further extended the comment period on the draft permit until June 2, 2014. In addition, on Wednesday, February 12, DEC held a public information session at the Griffin Memorial Elementary School Auditorium located at 274 South Pearl Street in the City of Albany.
See DEC's Global Albany facility web page for more information. Read DEC's March 24, 2014 letter to Global Companies (PDF) requesting additional information and extending the comment period.
On May 21, the comment period was further extended to August 1. On July 30, the comment period was again extended to September 30. On September 26, DEC extended the comment period to November 30.
Global Companies LLC Permit - New Windsor Terminal
In August 2013, Global Companies LLC submitted a permit application to DEC to redevelop a former industrial shipyard into a railcar transloading facility in the Town of New Windsor. As proposed, once the site is redeveloped the facility would receive petroleum products by rail and distribute them to existing storage tanks located at adjacent NYSDEC-licensed Major Oil Storage Facility (MOSF) terminals operated by Global. DEC received application revisions in November 2013 and January 2014.
On March 24, 2014, DEC issued a Notice of Incomplete Application to Global Companies (PDF) for the New Windsor terminal. See DEC's Global New Windsor facility web page for additional information.
On October 2, 2014, Global sent a letter to DEC requesting to withdraw its permit application (PDF) for the New Windsor terminal.