Catskill Mountainkeeper is calling New York’s attention to an unfolding crisis as the oil and gas industry seeks to turn New York into a major East Coast fossil fuel hub. There are currently numerous oil and gas infrastructure projects in various stages of proposal and completion that would pose a grave danger to the health of our families and the integrity of our environment.
While New York State has banned fracking, our people and natural resources remain under siege from the oil and gas industry’s efforts to build a massive expansion of infrastructure in New York to transport, store, and process natural gas, fracked oil, and tar sands. Much of this fossil fuel is destined to be sold in foreign markets—where the industry can make a higher profit—but it will be New Yorkers who pay the price in threats to our health from toxic pollution, poisonous spills, and catastrophic explosions, and potential harm to our waterways, forests, farms, fisheries, and wildlife habitat. In fact, many of the risks posed by oil and gas transport are the same ones that we worked so hard to prevent in the fight that won New York’s fracking ban.
The infrastructure to carry more oil and gas includes a growing web of new and expanded pipelines and compressor stations and the expansion of Albany as an oil hub, which will result in a surge of more “bomb trains” carrying highly flammable fracked oil from the Bakken shale and tar sands (technically, diluted bitumen) from Canada, and a growing proliferation of barges and tankers traveling the Hudson River filled with millions of gallons of these dangerous fossil fuels.
Each individual oil and gas infrastructure project poses a separate and serious threat, but when these projects are all considered together, the proposed oil and gas infrastructure expansion for New York State represents a full-blown crisis.
The health and environmental risks posed by oil and gas infrastructure are just as serious as those posed by fracking; however the fight to block infrastructure is far more complicated. Much of this proposed build-out is regulated by Federal agencies, but New York State does control portions of the approval process for some projects. Mountainkeeper and our allies are driving change wherever we can by working strategically where it makes the most difference for each project. Our overall goal is to stop the massive increase in the flow of fossil fuel into and out of New York State, and to fight for regulations to ensure that whatever fossil fuel does pass through our state is handled and transported in the safest possible way.
Building new infrastructure for fossil fuels is absolutely the wrong strategy for New York and our country because it will tie us to fossil fuel for generations. We must stop new and expanded fossil fuel development to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, and invest in renewable energy to secure a clean and sustainable energy future.