For Immediate Release, April 9, 2014   

Contact: Mollie Matteson, (802) 318-1487

Emergency Planners to Assess Rising Risks of Crude Oil Transport Along Hudson River

ALBANY, N.Y.— In response to the dramatic surge in highly explosive crude oil being transported through the Port of Albany and the Hudson River corridor, federal and state officials are meeting today and tomorrow to assess the region’s outdated plan to prevent and respond to oil spills. The New York/New Jersey Regional Response Team is convening at the Empire State Convention Center; the public meeting had to be moved to a larger space to accommodate the unusually high number of registrants.

“It’s gratifying to see that the agencies responsible for safeguarding us all from devastating oil spills are finally taking this new threat seriously,” said Mollie Matteson, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “With two companies already authorized to move nearly 3 billion gallons of volatile fuel through Albany every year, urgent action is needed.”

In response to the mounting threat, on Feb. 19 the Center filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency for failing to provide proper protection to 17 federally endangered and threatened species in the Hudson River and New York Bay. The species, which include the Atlantic sturgeon, shortnose sturgeon, green sea turtle, piping plover and sea beach amaranth, face severe harm from both an oil spill and emergency clean-up measures.

The notice cited the significant change in the last two years in the volume and type of crude oil being transported through the Hudson corridor, and the fact that the current spill-response plan, for which the Coast Guard and EPA have lead responsibility, had not been updated to reflect the different risks and response needs associated with the new shipping activity.

“The Hudson River is a national treasure that citizens have rescued from the worst abuses of industry multiple times in the past,” said Matteson. “And the message is unchanged — safety and the health of the river, and the plants and animals that depend on it, always has to be the first priority, not an afterthought.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 675,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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