Due to a massive increase in the movement of crude oil by rail in the past few years, communities across the country are facing the daunting prospect of becoming part of the oil industry’s infrastructure.
In Pittsburg, Calif., there is strong opposition to a proposed rail facility slated to bring in upwards of 242,000 barrels of Bakken crude daily. The state’s draft environmental review finds “significant and unavoidable risks of air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, spills and accidents,” justifying resident’s concerns.
Meanwhile, Albany, N.Y., has quietly become home to increased oil shipments without any environmental review. A rail facility is currently receiving between 20 and 25 percent of the Bakken crude from North Dakota. As Trisha Curtis, an analyst at the Energy Policy Research Foundation, puts it, “Albany has become a big hub.” This has led to local residents referring to Albany as “Houston on the Hudson.”
In a victory for local residents, earlier this week New York’s environment agency announced it would require Global, the company proposing a heating facility for heavy crude at the Port of Albany, to disclose the source of the oil.