Crude-by-Rail Clean Air Suit

NEWS RELEASE: February 3, 2016

BROAD COALITION CHALLENGES CLEAN AIR VIOLATIONS AT ALBANY CRUDE-BY-RAIL TERMINAL

Cite environmental justice impacts to public housing residents adjacent to Global facility

ALBANY, NY -- A broad coalition consisting of the County of Albany, a tenants association, and several environmental groups filed a lawsuit today in federal court charging that a major crude-by-rail conglomerate is operating in violation of the Clean Air Act. The lawsuit claims that Global Companies failed to obtain a required air pollution permit and institute necessary pollution controls when it modified its Albany, New York facility in 2012 to allow a five-fold increase in the amount of crude oil handled at the facility. The lawsuit also claims that Global has violated a permit issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation by handling crude oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota, which emits more air pollutants than conventional crude oil. The lawsuit seeks an injunction requiring the company to apply for the required air pollution permit and prohibiting the facility from handling Bakken crude oil, and asks for fines of $37,500 for each day that Global has operated in violation of the Clean Air Act.

The Global facility is located in Albany’s South End, which is home to residences, schools, churches, businesses, and social service agencies. The facility is directly adjacent to Ezra Prentice Homes, which has approximately 400 residents, including over 200 children. Albany’s South End has been designated an “environmental justice area” by DEC, meaning that it is an area that bears a disproportionate impact of adverse environmental impacts.

“The families who live at the Ezra Prentice Homes should not have to be exposed to hazardous air pollution from Global’s operations,” said Charlene Benton, president of the Ezra Prentice Homes Tenants Association. “The polluted air makes us sick and that’s just not right. We are going to court today to be granted the basic right to breathe clean air.”

“It has been nearly two years since Albany County instituted a moratorium in response to the concerns raised by South End residents,” said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. “That moratorium was aimed at stopping Global’s plan to expand their existing operations, and to force compliance for a full environmental impact review under state law. The purpose of this lawsuit is to compel Global to comply as well with the requirements of federal law, specifically the Clean Air Act. I believe that we will prevail in this case and that Global will be required to operate its facilities at the port in a way that ensures the protection of all of the residents of Albany who may be harmed by Global’s noncompliance.”

The pollutants emitted by Global’s operations include a variety of hazardous air pollutants, including benzene, a known human carcinogen. Pollution from the Global facility also contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone, which is known to cause respiratory problems such as asthma, harmful cardiovascular effects, and premature death. The people living at Ezra Prentice -- as well as numerous other residences, businesses, health care facilities, parks, churches and schools in Albany’s South End that are in close proximity to Global’s Albany Terminal -- are at risk from breathing in toxic air with excessive levels of ozone.

“Global has operated its massive crude-by-rail terminal with no regard for the health and safety of the hundreds Ezra Prentice residents who live on the facility’s doorstep, and the thousands who live, work, and go to school within blocks of the Global facility,” said Earthjustice attorney Christopher Amato. “Today’s lawsuit seeks to protect the South Albany community from Global’s air pollution and hold the company accountable for its repeated violations of the Clean Air Act.”

"Since 2012, Global has unjustifiably quadrupled the amount of highly volatile crude oil it handles at its Albany facility based on a misrepresentation of the amount of air pollution that this expansion would cause, impacting both residents and those who work in the Albany metro area,” said Kate Hudson, Riverkeeper Director of Cross Watershed Initiative. “Our citizen's suit challenge to Global's failure to comply with the requirements of the federal Clean Air Act is crucial not only to protect the health of Albany residents and visitors alike, but also to protect the Hudson from a major oil spill as a result of the vast increase in crude oil being shipped from Global's facility, a spill that would jeopardize 50 years of work to restore the river."

“Global claimed in its application that they would handle conventional crude oil during marine loading operations, and a permit was issued based upon that information,” said Roger Downs, conservation director, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. “But instead, Global has imported large quantities of Bakken crude oil, which is extremely volatile and emits significantly more VOCs than conventional crude oil. This continuing violation of air quality laws has to stop.”

“Global simply has no authority to handle Bakken crude oil, which not only emits high levels of pollutants, but is dangerously flammable,” said Mollie Matteson, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Global must be held accountable for its total disregard for human health and safety, and the well-being of our environment."

“Global tried to sneak more highly polluting crude oil into this community by hoping a major expansion of its facility would fly under the radar,” said Dan Raichel, staff attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Today’s suit will hold these polluters accountable. The oil industry cannot get away with reckless disregard for the laws that protect clean air and residents’ health.”

"Global has not met the basic requirements of the Clean Air act, and this threatens the people of Albany and beyond," said Wes Gillingham, Program Director for Catskill Mountainkeeper. "Global has tried to hide the volatility of the Bakken crude oil. By doing this they disregard the health, environmental and safety risks they pose to New York communities. Global should not be allowed to continue."

The citizen suit was filed by Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law firm, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York on behalf of the Ezra Prentice Homes Tenants Association; the County of Albany; Sierra Club; Center for Biological Diversity; Riverkeeper, Inc.; Scenic Hudson; Natural Resources Defense Council; and Catskill Mountainkeeper.

ONLINE VERSION OF THE NEWS RELEASE AND LINK TO THE COMPLAINT:http://earthjustice.org/news/press/2016/broad-coalition-challenges-clean-air-violations-at-albany-crude-by-rail-terminal

CRUDE-BY-RAIL ACROSS AMERICA OVERVIEW WITH INTERACTIVE MAP: http://earthjustice.org/features/map-crude-by-rail

CONTACTS:

Christopher Amato, Earthjustice, 518-860-3696, camato@earthjustice.org

Mary Rozak, Office of the Albany County Executive, 518-368-9528, mary.rozak@albanycounty.com

Charlene Benton, Ezra Prentice Homes Tenants Association, (518) 472-0201

Roger Downs, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, 518-426-9144, Roger.downs@sierraclub.org

Cliff Weathers, Riverkeeper, 914-478-4501, ext. 239, cweathers@riverkeeper.org

Mollie Matteson, Center for Biological Diversity, 802-318-1487, mmatteson@biologicaldiversity.org

Kate Kiely, Natural Resources Defense Council, 212-727-4592, kkiely@nrdc.org

Wes Gillingham, Catskill Mountainkeeper, 845-439-1230, wes@catskillmountainkeeper.org

 

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Press Release: Coalition to Pilgrim: “What part of ‘no’ doesn’t the industry understand?”

May 18th, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact: Catskill Mountainkeeper: Kathleen Nolan, MD, MSL, (845) 417-6489; kathy@catskillmountainkeeper.org   
Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipelines -- New York:  Iris Marie Bloom (845) 687-7810,protectingourwaters@gmail.com 
Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipelines – Saugerties:  Sue Rosenberg (914) 466-0954rosenberg.sue@gmail.com
New Yorkers Against Fracking: Jess Mullen (917) 500-8923iheartupstateny@gmail.com

Coalition to Pilgrim: “What part of ‘no’ doesn’t the industry understand?”

Elected officials, activists rally in Kingston, opposing controversial proposed pipelines for crude oil and gasoline transport: “There is no red or blue water.”

Kingston, NY – Ulster County Chief Executive Mike Hein joined lawmakers from Esopus, Plattekill, Rochester and Esopus, and a diverse array of clean energy advocates including farmers, physicians, faith-based and civil rights leaders, all standing together to confront Pilgrim, the company planning to build two controversial proposed oil and gasoline pipelines through the Hudson Valley.

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Press Release: Citizen Groups Demand Transparency

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 12, 2015

Citizen Groups Demand Transparency from New York State DEC on Constitution Pipeline

CONTACTS:
Anne Marie Garti - Stop the Pipeline (718) 601-9618
Wes Gillingham - Catskill Mountainkeeper (845) 901-1029
Keith Schue - Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy (407) 470-9433

Albany - On Monday, May 11th, leading state and regional organizations sent a letter to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens calling for full transparency in its review of the Constitution Pipeline (CP).

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Press Release - Stop Northeast Direct Pipeline

Press inquiries:
Wes Gillingham, Catskill Mountainkeeper - (845) 901-1029
Bob Neid, Center for Sustainable Rural Communities - (518) 852-4021


April 6, 2015
Schoharie, NY

STOP THE NORTHEAST ENERGY DIRECT PIPELINE

Rally and Press Conference

A coalition of local and national environmental groups including Catskill Mountainkeeper and the Center for Sustainable Rural Communities held a press conference and rally today in Schoharie, New York to Stop the Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline

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Press conference and rally to Stop the Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline

*MEDIA ADVISORY FOR MONDAY, APRIL 6, 2015*

Saying NO to New Pipelines: Coalition of environmental groups to hold press conference

and rally to Stop the Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline

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Public forum on Pilgrim Pipeline risks in Saugerties Jan. 10

SAUGERTIES >> The Coalition Against the Pilgrim Pipeline will hold a public forum on the risks of the Pilgrim Pipeline at 3 p.m. Jan. 10 at the Saugerties Senior Center, 207 Market Street at the corner of Market Street....

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Mountainkeeper Awarded Grant to Solarize Communities

STSWreduced.jpg(12/2014) Catskill Mountainkeeper is pleased to announce that we have been awarded a grant of $1.8 million from the State of New York to lead a collaborative project to increase energy conservation and solar penetration in the Southern Tier and Mid-Hudson regions.  

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Peace Corps Presentation at Livingston Manor Library

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Erin Burch
erin@catskillmountainkeeper.org
(845) 707-1326

Livingston Manor, NY -- From Latin America to Africa, Peace Corps has overseas work opportunities in Environment, Agriculture, and other programs as well. Spend part of a summer’s evening at Livingston Manor Free Library and discover the benefits of Peace Corps service from returned Volunteers. Join us to learn about the challenging, rewarding, and inspirational moments of being a Peace Corps Volunteer. Have your questions answered and gain tips to guide you through the application process.

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Catskill Mountainkeeper's 3rd Annual Mid-Summer Supper at Neversink Farm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

July 9, 2014
Contact: Susan Jaffe, Consulting Director of Agriculture
Susan@catskillmountainkeeper.org or call (845) 439-1230

Catskill Mountainkeeper’s Third Annual Mid-Summer Supper at Neversink Farm

Claryville, NY
 - Come join us for an afternoon of live music by Poison Love String Trio, guided farm tours, berry picking and a delicious spread prepared by James Beard award winning Chef, Patrick Connolly.  Only the freshest ingredients from main street farm, Neversink Farm, Java Love, Catskill Food Company, Snowdance Farm, Northern Farmhouse Pasta, Brandenburg Bakery, and many others in the region will be used!

Saturday July 19, 2014 
Doors open at 3pm/Supper served at 4 pm

Hosted by Neversink Farm at 635 Claryville Road, Claryville N.Y.

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Catskill Mountainkeeper Launches www.RenewableNY.com to Help New Yorkers Achieve Energy Independence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Betta Broad
Catskill Mountainkeeper
Program Manager, Energy & Climate
(607) 222-3678  or  betta@catskillmountainkeeper.org

 Catskill Mountainkeeper Launches www.RenewableNY.com to Help New Yorkers Achieve Energy Independence

July 3, 2014 -- This July 4th, Catskill Mountainkeeper is celebrating Independence Day with the launch of its new web resource, RenewableNY.com, which will help New Yorkers achieve energy independence by transitioning to safe, clean, and now affordable renewable energy. 

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