Meeting held to discuss crude oil issue in Albany

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Updated: 5/13 11:06 pm

ALBANY, N.Y. – Albany’s south end residents are hopeful that local officials will make progress in finding a resolution to the crude oil trains that pass through their neighborhood.

The Albany Common Council Committee held a meeting Tuesday on emergency response and health concerns as it relates to oil trains. A train derailment early Monday morning has reignited the heated debate.

Shana Davis came from Latham to voice her concerns over the trains that run through the state. She said she’s still waiting on answers.

“Where’s the information that tells people what this is, what harm it brings, how can I be safe, what’s it doing to my children,” she said.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple was one of several local officials who took to the podium Tuesday. He said the county is doing everything it can at the preparedness level but a moratorium is out of the county’s control.

“We basically are handcuffed. We have not control over it. It’s a federal issue,” he said. “Listen I feel for these people. They fear they are in imminent threat. Federal officials, state officials have come out and said they’re in imminent threat, so why are we waiting? Why are we not doing something from the federal level and that’s the question that needs to be answered.”

Until those questions can be answered, emergency plans are at the forefront of county readiness if an explosion should happen.

Charlene Benton lives near the train tracks at the Port of Albany. She said she’s been asking for a drill for several months. She was promised an emergency response team will make that happen.

“We don’t know the degree of the incidents that may or may not happen, but the thing is, at least I think that’s a starting point,” she said.

Apple said he expects to have a team doing drills and more information by the end of the week.

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