News > News > Preserve River Ecology > Crude Oil Transport > Victory for the environment: DEC plans full review of Albany oil terminal operation

Victory for the environment: DEC plans full review of Albany oil terminal operation

For immediate release: September 16, 2016

Contacts:
Cliff Weathers, Communications Director
845-445-8257; cweathers@riverkeeper.org

Victory for the environment: DEC plans full review of Albany oil terminal operation

ALBANY — The NYS State Department of Environmental Conservation sent a letter to Global Partners LP on Friday informing the energy company that its air quality renewal permit application for the Port of Albany will be considered as an entirely new application, requiring additional information to address issues identified by DEC and restarting the environmental review process.

Global Partners LP owns, controls or has access to one of the largest terminal networks of petroleum products and renewable fuels in the region. Its terminals at the Port of Albany were approved more than four years ago, before many concerns about crude oil shipments came to light, with minimal public awareness, and with no study of environmental impacts.

Riverkeeper’s campaign against unsafe crude oil transportation on and along the Hudson has been calling for a comprehensive environmental review of Global’s operations which present environmental threats not only at and around its Albany facility, but also by the crude oil transport by rail and barge required by Global’s operations that threatens communities and environmental resources including from Lake Champlain and to New York Harbor. For over two years the organization has called for a comprehensive look at both the 2012 permit that allowed a quadrupling of crude oil transport through the facility from 450 million gallons per year to 2.2 billion gallons per year and of the 2013 permit modification application to install seven boilers to facilitate the transfer of heavy tar sands crude from oil trains to river barges. The efforts of Riverkeeper and our partners catalyzed tens of thousands of comments, letters and calls to the DEC calling for the exact steps announced today.

The DEC said that the new permit application will provide a public comment period, and conceivably a public hearing. It will also require Global to develop an improved outreach plan that thoroughly examines the impacts of both existing and proposed operations on the environmental justice community.

The DEC also states that it will require Global to conduct new emissions testing that accurately represents the facility’s emissions. The new permit application requires Global to address newly disclosed material information and material change in environmental conditions, which include:

  • Observed benzene levels observed by DEC at its new air toxics monitor in the South End that are higher than levels observed in similar locations in Buffalo and Rochester;
  • Noise impacts to the adjacent community;
  • Odor issues potentially attributable in part to the facility;
  • Incidents involving spills and fires attributable to the shipment and transloading of Bakken crude;
    Visual impacts from the storage of railroad cars;
  • Potential for increased greenhouse gas emissions associated with the processing of crude oil derived from tar sands;
  • Potential inconsistency with the Albany’s waterfront revitalization plans;
  • Projected sea-level rise that could impact the facility; and
  • Potentially cumulative impacts associated with the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project.

“A re-starting of a comprehensive SEQR process is exactly what Riverkeeper has demanded, and even litigated, for the past two years. The permitting agency has taken critical steps to allow them to require a full review of the broad range of impacts associated with this facility. That review must include impacts to the entire Hudson River, and the potential of oil spills to set back the river’s recovery, threats to communities along the transportation routes connected with Global’s operations from the Canadian border to New York Harbor, as well as climate change,” said Kate Hudson, Riverkeeper’s Director of Cross Watershed Initiatives. “The agency now acknowledges the need to fully involve the impacted public in that review and we look forward to the opportunity to participate in a full examination of the potential impacts of all of Global’s operations and the development of a comprehensive environmental impact statement.”

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