Increase in oil trains raises safety concerns - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Increase in oil trains raises safety concerns

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Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
ELIZABETHTOWN, N.Y. -

Northern New York officials are reviewing their disaster plans in response to a dramatic increase in rail shipments of highly volatile crude oil from North Dakota to the Port of Albany.
    
As many as 20 trains pass through our region weekly, from the Canadian border south along Lake Champlain and the upper Hudson River. Each train has 100 cars filled with crude.
Concerns have been raised over the safety of oil trains after a series of disastrous derailments last year, including one in Quebec last summer that killed 47 people.
   
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) is among those raising concerns over the safety of the oil trains. "The risk is very high if you had a derailment or you had an explosion. It would really put peoples lives at risk and so I agree completely that we need far more transparency and accountability and frankly some of these routes should be reviewed re-routed or certainly not coming into highly populated areas.  It's a risk and it's a risk we shouldn't be asked to take," Gillibrand said.

Essex County Emergency Services is inviting local emergency planning officials to a meeting in Elizabethtown on March 11, when Canadian Pacific Railroad will make a presentation on its emergency-response planning and preparedness.

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