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For Release: Wednesday, May 21, 2014

DEC Extends Public Comment Period for Global Permit at Port Of Albany

The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today extended the public comment period for the Global Companies permit application at the Port of Albany for an additional 60 days until August 1 due to broad public and community interest, the agency announced.

Global Companies submitted a permit application to modify its Air Title V Facility permit to allow the company to heat petroleum products, including crude oil, residual fuel and bio-fuels at its facility at the Port of Albany. The draft permit was listed in the January 29, 2014 Environmental Notice Bulletin. The storage, handling and transshipment of crude oil has become a growing concern following several out-of-state disasters, including one in Quebec that killed 47 people.

On March 24 DEC sought additional information from Global regarding the company's Port of Albany facility and permit modification that will help inform the decision-making process.

In response, Global has now provided some additional information, which is currently under review by DEC to determine whether it is complete. DEC will continue to work with community leaders to coordinate on any further requests deemed necessary to supplement the information Global provided. DEC will continue its dialogue with the community to ensure all questions are answered fully and objectively.

DEC's review under Title V of the Clean Air Act and the State Environmental Quality Review Act is ongoing. DEC will not make a final determination on pending permit applications until it has fully reviewed all issues and only after the impacted communities are provided meaningful opportunities to learn about and comment on the proposals. The extension of the comment period will enable members of the public to participate meaningfully in the process.

No other state in the nation has been as aggressive in pursuing action that will help to ensure the public and the environment are protected from accidents related to the transport of crude oil. Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, the state has taken aggressive steps to safeguard our residents and communities from the risks associated with shipments of crude oil by rail, barge and boat.

Just weeks ago, Governor Cuomo urged President Obama to take immediate federal action to replace outdated and dangerous crude oil tank cars. The Governor also sent the President the State's comprehensive crude oil transportation report, which was recently completed in accordance with an executive order issued by the Governor in January. The report, which was put together by five State agencies, details ten critical federal recommendations and presents a package of state administrative, regulatory and legislative actions related to the transportation of crude oil. Shortly after the Governor's letter to the President, yet another crude oil train derailed and exploded in Lynchburg, VA, underscoring the urgency of the Governor's call to action.

In addition, DEC will continue to work with community leaders to implement community air screen monitoring near the Port to measure pollutant levels. This initial screening will determine a baseline of current air quality conditions and will help to determine if further sampling or enhanced inspections of Port of Albany facilities are necessary.

The community air screening plan (PDF, 1.7 MB) will use sampling equipment to measure volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are chemicals emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs are constituents of crude oil, as well as other sources which are present in the area.

The air screen samplers to be used in the South End are the same sampling canisters used in DEC's statewide air toxics monitoring network. The samplers will be located at three fixed, residential locations in the Albany South End neighborhood and will be collected once a week during the month of May. The community is employing a fourth sampler to use at its discretion each week in May.

Comments on the permit can be submitted to DEC by August 1 via email to dep.r4@dec.ny.gov or mailed to the contact below.

Karen M Gaidasz
NYSDEC Region 4 Headquarters
1130 North Westcott Rd
Schenectady, NY 12306

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