New York crude rail terminal expansion delayed

OREANDA-NEWS. September 20, 2016. New York regulators have ordered Global Partners to submit a new air permit for an expansion of its Albany crude-by-rail transloading terminal, citing the potential dangers of Bakken shipments.

Global Partners will have to restart the environmental review process and conduct new emissions testing at the facility, said the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

The company filed an application in June 2013 to amend its permit to add seven boilers to heat crude. Railed crude into the facility is transloaded onto marine vessels that carry it down the Hudson river to New York Harbor or beyond.

The state cited a string of crude-by-rail accidents, as well as concerns over relatively high benzene levels in the area of the facility.

Global must now provide new information to regulators addressing issues including "incidents involving spills and fires attributable to the transport and processing of Bakken crude."

The DEC cited train fires and explosions over the last few years including a June derailment near Mosier, Oregon, and the July 2013 derailment and explosion of a Bakken crude train which caused 47 deaths in Lac-Megantic, Quebec.

Global Partners must address what measures it will take to limit potential safety concerns, such as implementing leak detection and repair procedures and limiting the volatility of crude processed at the facility, the NEC said.

Global disagreed with the regulator's decision, saying that it has fully complied with the required permit application process.

"Global has always been particularly vigilant about the safety of our neighbors wherever we operate and we will continue to work with the Albany community on these issues," the company said.

Environmental group Riverkeeper, which was among a coalition of groups that sued Global regarding the permitting issue, said the DEC decision was a victory for the environment.

The air permit review must now include impacts to the entire Hudson river, the potential of oil spills to set back the river's recovery, community threats as well as climate change, the group said.