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The recent spike in oil train traffic across the state and through the Hudson Valley presents largely unexamined and unaddressed risks to children’s health and safety and the environment. These include new threats to 101 K-12 schools in the Hudson River Valley and Capital District, 351 K-12 schools statewide, and natural resources that are essential for water quality and the economy, according to mapping by environmental and health groups released on Nov. 20, 2014.
The tragic accidents in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, and Casselton, N.D, that resulted in mass casualties and huge releases of air toxins illustrate how much more work New York State and federal agencies need to do to prepare for oil spills, derailments, and resulting catastrophes. Below is a map created by the Healthy Schools Network showing K-12 public and private schools within one mile of the CSX railroad tracks that, as of late-2014, was carrying 15-30 crude oil trains per week. U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines call for a one-mile “exclusion zone” for fires involving trains hauling flammable liquids and gasses such as Bakken crude oil.
Additional Riverkeeper maps showing how Lac-Megantic and Casselton-scale disasters would affect areas of the Hudson Valley are available in the Crude Oil Public Outreach section.