Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Railroad Plans To Store Oil Tankers in High Peaks

Railroad train of tanker cars transporting crude oil on the tracks earth justice photoOwners of the Saratoga-North Creek Railway have big plans for a new use of the railroad line from North Creek into the High Peaks.

Last week, company President Ed Ellis made a presentation to the Warren County Board of Supervisors Public Works Committee about the company’s new plans. Ellis sees an exciting business opportunity for his rail lines with low traffic in the long-term storage of hundreds of oil-soaked tanker cars.

The Saratoga-North Creek Railway is part of the larger Iowa Pacific Railroad, which owns or leases tracks in eight areas around the U.S. They lease the county-owned rail line in Saratoga and Warren counties and own the Sanford Lake section in Essex County, which runs along the Hudson and Boreas rivers, and along the Tahawus Road to the Tahawus mine.

Company President Ellis stated that they have had big success in Colorado storing these cars and says they can line 100 cars per mile. They currently have 3-5 miles of such cars stockpiled on a rail line in Colorado which Iowa Pacific owns.

High Peaks from Upper HudsonThese cars were all recently used to haul crude oil from Canada or from the Midwest. Canada recently passed new regulations requiring all tanker cars to be doubled-hulled, with the addition of an outer insulated shell to prevent cars from heating and exploding in the event of a fire. New rules for retrofitting oil tankers in the United States have been issued and are being challenged. This has placed the future of the current oil tanker car fleet in question.

In this confusion, Ellis sees an opportunity. He says new regulations will affect as many as 80,000 oil tankers and since the retrofitting market can’t handle that volume the old cars will need to be stored for years before they’re upgraded. He stated that many cars could be recycled as they have valuable scrap steel, but they would need to be cleaned of oil residues that coat the inside of each car beforehand. The cleaning process is not cheap – $3,500 to 4,000 per car according to Ellis, who said the cleaning market is overwhelmed and backlogged by the volume of cars.

All of this points to a robust storage market and Ellis said he has a sales person working full time selling storage on their lines. He stated that in Colorado, he has hundreds of such cars within two miles of his home. He said there is no storage capacity in the Northeastern United State and that his line is Essex County would be ideal.

Tahawus Rail Line (Phil Brown Photo)Ellis was questioned about whether he would use various sidings or the main track. He said he has limited siding capacity, so he would use the main line. There is some siding track at the Tahawus mine and a long section, where a few dozen cars could be stored, along the main track in a section that runs through the Vanderwhacker Mountain area of the Forest Preserve. That stretch of rail line is a stone’s-throw from the Boreas River. Ellis said that the main track would have to be used, which would block future opportunities to haul rock from the Tahawus mine.

Over five miles of the Sanford Lake Rail Line also runs through the new MacIntyre East Tract which the state recently purchased for the Forest Preserve. This section includes a long stretch of the Hudson River, a fun and beautiful paddle south of the mine. In this tract the rail line runs close to the Hudson River.

Ellis maintains that empty tanker cars are safe and do not leak, although they are coated inside and may contain a few gallons of remnant crude. They will be marked with hazardous waste flags due to the fumes produced, but all the cars will be vented.

In his presentation, Ellis made a number of things very clear to county leaders. The tourist train runs at a loss and he needs freight service to finance the rail line and meet lease payments. Their plan to haul rock from the Tahawus mine (which he referred to as “imaginary rock”) has sputtered. A negligible amount of rock has been hauled to date, just 80,000 tons, which lost money. He said that without a viable freight market, the lease deal will collapse and Iowa Pacific will not be able to run the line. Its first 5-year contract concluded at the end of June 2015, and a new contract has yet to be signed.

At this point it’s unclear what local permits are needed for storage of potentially toxic waste. Would this be a new commercial use under the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) Act? Are there other state permits that are needed? Are there federal permits needed? Ellis says few, if any, permits are needed. He states that he has the clear right to haul these oil tanker cars through Saratoga and Warren counties, and because he owns the track he can store them in Essex County.

One big question: Is this what the Adirondack Park is all about? Governor Mario Cuomo stood behind the APA commissioners in the early 1990s when they passed a resolution that the Adirondack Park should handle locally generated garbage and waste, but not be used for outside materials. This principle was upheld in 1995-1996 by Governor George Pataki who rebuffed an effort by Essex County leaders to sell the Essex County landfill to a company that wanted to make it a major regional landfill. Does the storage of hundreds of oil-soaked tanker cars in Essex County comport with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s vision of the Adirondack Park?

There are also questions about the legal history of the Sanford Lake Rail Line, allowed to be built through the Forest Preserve for a specific purpose during World War II, which did not include storage of used oil tanker cars.

The idea of hundreds of used tanker cars lining the Sanford Lake Rail Line alongside the Hudson and Boreas Rivers, in places that are otherwise deep in the Forest Preserve, is jarring. This proposal merits a wide public discussion and should be subject to a public hearing and a public review where all facts and information are detailed.

A video of the Ellis presentation to Warren County can be found here.  A Glens Falls Post Star editorial that takes a dim view of this proposal is located here.

Photos: Above, a railroad train of tanker cars transporting crude oil (photo courtesy Earthjustice); middle, Sanford Lake (John Warren photo); and below, the Tahawus rail line (Phil Brown photo).

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Peter Bauer

Peter Bauer is the Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks.

He has been working in various capacities on Adirondack Park environmental issues since the mid-1980s, including stints as the Executive Director of the Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks and FUND for Lake George as well as on the staff of the Commission on the Adirondacks in the Twenty-First Century and Adirondack Life Magazine. He served as Chair of the Town of Lake George Zoning Board of Appeals and has served on numerous advisory boards for management of the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve.

He lives in Blue Mountain Lake with his wife and two children and enjoys a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities throughout the Adirondacks.




36 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    I am not a big fan of this idea. But I don’t think anything can be done really to stop it. They own the line. It is a RR I guess storing RR cars is fine. They were just telling these folks as a courtesy.

  2. Scott says:

    If we are going to keep the tracks between Beaver River and Tupper on the Remsen-Placid line, that is all through Forest Preserve so we might as well do long term storage of oil tankers there too. Apparently enough people want trains in the adk backcountry so maybe we can support this also. That should help keep snowmobiles off the railroad bed in winter too!

    • Big Burly says:

      This is the comment of a [REDACTED] and must come from one of those intransigent folks seeking to diminish economic opportunity in the Adirondacks and the ability for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities to enjoy the spectacular scenery of our region via rail. The Remsen – Lake Placid line serves the largest communities in the region. NYS needs to fully implement the policy it adopted in 1996 … upgrade the rail infrastructure and invest in a trail system that links communities along the corridor.
      The Iowa & Pacific proposal for tank car storage in Essex County is a foolish and frankly dumb idea that should be rejected by all involved. BUT it has nothing to do with the Remsen – LP corridor and the positive impact that will occur when NYS fully implements Alternative 6 in the current UMP.

      • Dave says:

        Big BUrley: Toooooooooooo late for you & option 6 from the 1996 UMP. It has been overtaken by events & common sense. The rail line is gone north of Tupper Lake & the portion south of Tupper Lake to Big Moose may never get upgraded, if the state cannot find someone to take over management/running the line. Iowa Pacific is loosing money on what they have now, hence the oil tanker storage article. Plus that pesky little scenic railroad that runs between Saratoga & North Creek is a financial loss tight now too for Iowa Pacific. So don’t worry the Remsen-Lake Placid corridor is slowly improving into what is can be: A GREAT TRAIL SYSTEM.

        • Big Burly says:

          Your concept has lost.

          • Dave says:

            My concept has lost nothing based on the last few DEC/APA decisions: A trail from Tupper Lake to Lake Placid: No train there anymore. The rails between Big Moose & Tupper will ONLY be upgraded when the state can find a rail caompany to take over management of the line. Fat chance of that happening.
            As far as what this article pertainbs to: If Iowa Pacific owns that portion of the rail line, then they can pretty much to with it what they please. I don’t agree with their decision, but it’s their decision!

  3. Hope says:

    And you are worried about snowmobiles using old roads and a bridge? It’s going to be a beautiful view along the Boreas. The railroad should have been abandoned long ago.

  4. Curt Austin says:

    The dynamic for Warren County’s Public Works Committee is that they’ve made a heavy investment in the railroad venture, there is still a chance that it might succeed, but more revenue is desperately needed. Since the cars will be stored in Essex, the only downside is the traffic through Warren – not a big deal.

    A promise of this railroad venture is re-industrialization of the corridor. This is what it looks like. I think it would look much better as a multi-use trail, be more popular, and bring in more economic activity. I’m hoping Warren County supervisors see that there is a better horse to jump on. Essex and Hamilton should be looking fondly upon this horse, too.

    Iowa Pacific’s operation here is officially under federal jurisdiction; they believe local municipalities or the APA cannot interfere. The APA does not easily concede to federal preemption, however, and can certainly make a fuss if they choose. Years ago, they managed to persuade Canadian Pacific to install six short radio towers instead of three tall towers; CP literally cut the towers in half.

    On the other hand, the relevant UMP for the corridor is silent on the railroad ROW; DEC apparently decided that they did not have jurisdiction over the 14 miles of state land it traverses (a mistake, perhaps: the lease is for railroad purposes only, so it should have asserted control over other uses, such as snowmobiling.) The other precedent is that the railroad was not only used to haul ore out of Tahawus, it was used to bring in fuel and ore-processing reagents.

  5. Bill Quinlivan Bill Quinlivan says:

    This entire idea is totally nonsensical. I am also disturbed by the element of blackmail being used by the Railroad,i.e., the tourist train is running at a loss so they need some freight revenue to offset this. Look, accounting is a creative thing and one can make things look better or worse than what is realistic. They may own the rails, but NY taxpayers own the forest they run through. The risk far outweigh any benefit this Railroad will ever truly deliver to this community. By the way, this is Tar Sands oil we are talking about. We need to call their bluff.

  6. Dick Carlson says:

    It seems curious that Iowa Pacific just sold 2 rail lines in the Permain Basin of TX – The Austin & Northwestern Railroad Company, Inc., doing business as Texas New Mexico Railroad (TNMR), and West Texas and Lubbock Railroad Company, Inc. (WTLC). Both of these rail lines almost exclusively haul oil, chemicals and scrap. These oil cars are IP’s cars – probably still on lease after the sale. It’s more smoke and mirrors from IP. Just like the stone they sold and shipped – to their own railroad in MA – not to a customer. Link to the sale…
    http://www.railresource.com/content/?p=21947

  7. Boreal says:

    One would think this proposition would be a non-starter within any preserve.

    As they sit, the rails and cars will continue to degrade. Then who pays to repair the cars and corridor to remove them? They could become a permanent fixture just like the mine.

    Shouldn’t they be cleaned before they are stored? Nothing like vacationing in an area that reeks of toxic crude oil fumes vented from stored rail cars.

    On a different note, what about security? Who will be guarding these tankers to prevent tampering/vandalism/terrorism? Blackflies & skeeters??

  8. M.P. Heller says:

    I think this is a great task for Peter to jump all over. It’s almost a perfect fit for what I will just call his ‘special talents’.

    Go pester the hell out of Iowa Pacific, Peter. Make a big stink all over about their obvious lack of concern for environmental issues. Their willingness to risk the future of the communities they serve. The stench that will be generated from hundreds of cars vented into the forest preserve. The damage that could occur to our wild and scenic rivers should leaks in the tankers develop.

    This is akin to Christmas morning for PROTECT. You wake up one day and voila, a real issue almost tailored to their strengths and abilities. Go get ’em!

    • Hope says:

      This issue is the one issue that will unite all Adirondackers except for rail fans. They will flock to the wilderness graveyard to record railroad history in the making and all the different types of rail cars that are stored there. Their videos of the arrival of these cars will be gracing YouTube and Railroad.net for years to come.

      • M.P. Heller says:

        I’m a rail fan. I think it’s a terrible idea.

        Leave it to the ARTA supporters to reduce this important discussion to its least common denominator.

        You can be a 46er, a natural resource adopter, a lean-to maintainer, an aspiring winter hundred highest completer, and still want rail presence in the park. Trust me, I’m all of these things. The divisiveness and continued browbeating being dished out by trail advocates is so petty and childish. It really highlights the selfish and judgemental personally traits of these individuals.

  9. Carolyn says:

    This can not be good in the adirondacks and will deter people from coming to North Creek! Not in our back yard!

  10. drdirt says:

    Phil’s recent article on paddling the newly opened Hudson and Opolescent has us all excited .,., now we can enjoy the sweet aroma of oil from 500 tankers venting nearby.
    perhaps the fumes will kill the brain worms infesting our moose!!!!!

  11. Bruce says:

    I am neither for nor against doing this. Is there anyone on this forum who does not drive a car, use electricity, buy bottled water in plastic bottles, buy tires for their car, plastic toys for their kids, other foods in plastic containers, or like riding on nice smooth asphalt roads, etc., etc., etc. All of these come from crude oil in one way or another.

    We as humans produce millions (billions?) of tons of all kinds of waste, and much of it cannot be made invisible by convenient recycling processes, and even when they can, there is the issue of storage until recycled or buried.

    All of this petroleum-based manufacturing produces waste, and due to upgraded standards, old oil tankers are a form of waste and making them go away is not a simple matter of parking them in someone else’s yard or immediately cutting them up for scrap. Whatever danger these cars may represent (small, but real), will still be there whether they are in your yard or mine. Perhaps the railroad or concerned citizens can paint the cars camoflage and make them invisible?

    I’m hearing lots about reasons why doing this may not be right, but nothing about solutions except “not in my yard.” That’s not a solution. I’d say we’re more or less stuck with it, at least for the near future. Pogo said, “we have met the enemy, and he is us.”

    If state and federal governments say they don’t have a problem with it, folks assume there has been some kind of “collusion,” or payoff, which is wrong at least as much as it it may be a correct assumption.

    • Joe Hansen says:

      Wow Bruce,
      A thoughtful and balanced response to a complex issue, is that even allowed anymore?

    • Paul says:

      Near term yes. But I am working with a company that is using CO2 instead of petroleum as a raw material for making commercial grade plastics (a commercial product now). Sequesters carbon and make oil free plastic. I am very optimistic for the long term.

    • Boreal says:

      Here’s an idea – why not store the tankers at the tar sands sites? The companies making billions from these natural resources should be the ones paying for the clean-up along the way. If obsolete, contaminated tankers are a by-product of producing the oil, shouldn’t the companies manage their own waste as it is produced?

      Why should the tankers be stored in the bucolic Adirondack Park just because there are some unused, controversial rails here? This is the LAST place they should be stored. Can’t they be stored in an already industrial area? Or better yet, shouldn’t they be cleaned up immediately by the oil and rail companies and converted? I don’t buy the explanation that the cleanup companies are overwhelmed. Of course they are – now. Here is an opportunity to add jobs to a sluggish economy.

      The Park already has an enormous scar in that area (the Hudson River headwaters) – the Tahawus Mine. This clean-up should be addressed instead of complicating it with yet another environmental headache.

      • Bruce says:

        Boreal,

        I’m going to play devil’s advocate here:

        You do make a point, but here’s one of the problems…the cars belong to the RR, not the oil companies, and one thing railroads are noted for is protection of their scrap, or unused rolling stock, no matter how old. I was once told by a friend who had a scrap yard I frequented that the railroad will spend $1000 to recover $100 worth of stolen scrap. He had a big poster on the wall showing pictures of items typically found around railyards and tracks, belonging to the railroad.

        I doubt seriously the cars in question will be converted to the new standards, because it will probably cost more than building a new car. They might possibly be able to re-use the running gear if it’s not too outdated or worn. Environmental standards for scrapping the cars make cleaning them very expensive, relatively speaking. A DOT 111 tank car weighs about 65000 lbs empty. Scrap steel is currently going for about 3 cents a pound, yielding about $1950.00 scrap value. If it costs $3-4000 (as noted) to clean each car before scrapping, you can see the thinking behind storing them.

        About parking the cars in industrial areas…that depends upon who owns the trackage and whether or not that trackage is in use, and I can almost guarantee a RR won’t pay storage rent if they have room owned by them to do the job. I’m guessing someone will have to inspect the cars periodically. to ensure there’s no leaking, and since DOT 111 cars are not pressurized, they can’t be filled with inert gas

        Yes, they will be unsightly, but what would you do if it were your job to take them out of service in the most economical way possible?

    • Is it “unreasonable” or “unhinged” to suggest that just because waste to be disposed of does not automatically mean that it should be disposed of anywhere without regard to location no questions asked? Even the Post-Star, which is typically about as anti-environmentalist as you can get, called it a “toxic waste site.”

      This seems to be legal. I guess my question, if I’m permitted one, is why an area so close to the High Peaks is zoned industrial? The High Peaks being not only a sensitive wilderness area but probably the first or second biggest economic draw in the entire Adirondacks and one based entirely on people’s desire to enjoy outdoor tourism. Seems like an unnecessary risk to kill the golden goose…

      • Paul says:

        There is a RR and a big mine there. I am sure you have seen all of this. This has historically been an industrial area. It doesn’t fit any other classification despite its proximity to the high peaks. These cars being there will probably have zero impact on who visits the HPs. It doesn’t sound like it is really a toxic waste site with these cars there. That appears to be inaccurate. Since when do folks here trust their judgement?

        Just like you see in places like Colorado it isn’t that odd for industrial type sites to co-exist with beautiful wilderness parcels right next door. The Jay Mountain Wilderness is another more local example.

  12. barb says:

    This comment string is both childish and disappointing; mostly folks that just keep flogging their own tired ideas. Why is there no outrage; just backbiting? Time to grow up and get a fresh thought.

  13. Tony Goodwin Tony Goodwin says:

    Peter, a good review of the problems related to this proposal. One nit-picking correction is that the holding company is “Iowa Pacific Holdings”, not “railroad”. Also, the statement by Dave Simpson of Iowa Pacific Holdings in March of this year said that the lease with Warren County expired in June, 2016, not 2015. He did notably say, “We really need a game plan by the end of the [2015] year.” This implies that Iowa Pacific might not renew the lease. If not, how will all these stored cars ever be removed?

    I hope that “barb” will agree that this post is not “childish and disappointing”.

    • Paul says:

      Although it sounds weird to me it sounds like these things are valuable. Wouldn’t whomever owns the cars eventually figure out a way to get them out of there so they can cash in when the time is right. Perhaps a new lease holder?

      Not a perfect answer but it sounds like the cars are on the way.

      • Bruce says:

        I agree Paul. Those cars do represent money, at least to their owners, and I’m sure as soon as a way can be found to convert them into more cash (read profit) than the cost of scrapping or converting, it will be done, removing any liability to the RR. Who knows, maybe the price of scrap steel will take a big jump, making the project profitable.

        The way I figure it, the current scrap price pays half the cost of the EPA mandated cleaning, so if the price of scrap were to go to 10 cents a pound, instead of 3 cents, it would certainly seem doable, even with the cost of moving the cars to a scrapping facility.

  14. Tony Goodwin Tony Goodwin says:

    So what if the price for scrap steel never does rise to a level that makes it profitable to clean these cars? Yes, the owners would like to get some money back on their investment, but if that’s not possible the owners would probably just let the cars sit there and take the loss.

    That’s why there needs to be some guarantee that this storage, if it actually happens, is indeed temporary.

  15. Charlie S says:

    The Adirondacks! The next great dumping grounds! And why not? Why should this place be any different than anywhere else?

  16. Curt Austin says:

    There’s an article in the Press Republican (http://www.pressrepublican.com/news/local_news/oil-tankers-headed-for-tahawus-line/article_099118a9-be8c-5672-b47b-b8ff02eb57cb.html) that quotes Newcomb’s Supervisor George Canon after he spoke with Ed Ellis.

    Mr. Canon says Ellis told him the cars would be stored in Hamilton County / Town of Indian Lake, not in Newcomb. That would be the section between North River and the large bridge just downstream of the Hudson Gorge, about six miles. Perhaps Ellis got the message that his Tahawus idea was not good P.R., that Indian Lake would not object as strenuously. Probably true, but Hudson River rafters will be treated to miles of oil tank cars.

    Then again, perhaps when Ellis meets with Indian Lake’s supervisor, he’ll say something else. After all, he thinks he’s free to put these cars anywhere he likes when they start arriving.

    There are no sidings along that section, incidentally.

  17. Barbara says:

    I am horror struck to read this article today. Having followed the oil tanker car issue for months on end, I am surprised this did not get more media attention statewide.

    These tanker cars are smelly which means they emit toxic oil odor whether full or “empty”. We had a train line “stored” very near our home recently so I walked around it to see up close and personal. They are not benign little containers sitting quietly! The odor around the tankers was obvious.

    We don’t live in the county area of the proposal but spend time in Adirondack Park lands for weeks every summer and fall – for many years. Thousands visit this region simply because it is wilderness. It is our gemstone of NY! This proposal ….and not knowing exactly how many cars they can get … is a nightmare.

    I wonder if the wildlife will still move freely about? How do you cross a 100 car line?
    I wonder how many communities along the route to the “storage site” will be affected?
    What goes in must come out? Double traffic?

    I wonder why fostering dirty fossil fuel industrialization of our state is acceptable when we are poised to more forward as true leaders of green, sustainable safe energy?

  18. Bruce says:

    Barbara,

    I agree we need to get away from fossil fuels and petro-chemicals. Green energy and green products are being developed and worked on every day but as you know, going totally green cannot be accomplished in a day, week, month, year or even 20 years. It’s going to take more time than we like to admit in order to be weaned off fossil fuels, and all the other things we buy and use every day which are petro-chemical based.

    The world hasn’t really been green since man learned to produce and use metal and live in cities, where they depend on others to provide the necessities on a large scale. It really started going downhill during the Industrial Revolution.

    In the meantime, there are few magic bullets for dealing with the left-overs, a prime example being fly ash from coal-fired generating plants. Recent innovations are finding uses for it, but it’s a slow process, and millions of tons of it are still in holding ponds. We’re seeing the negative side effects of moving this ash where I live, it’s being encapsulated under a new airport runway, but folks are complaining about the constant stream of dump trucks necessary to take it there. People want perfect out of sight, out of mind solutions, but I’m afraid few exist.

    I find it interesting we all want and enjoy the life these things have provided us, but we always feel the waste needs to be somewhere else, even though we are responsible for creating it. Let’s hope the future our our great-grandchildren will be brighter.

    • Boreal says:

      Paul,

      You have a much better grasp of the real world than I do. I am sure we or someone will be saddled with these tankers, but that doesn’t mean we have to be complacent about it.

      These obsolete tankers have been an absolute necessity for the oil companies to get their crude to their refineries, regardless of who owns them. Given the profits gained both by the oil and rail industry with using the rails for transporting the crude, why can’t both Oil & Rail take some of those profits, build some sidetracks at the tar sands or pumping sites and store them there? Isn’t it logical to store contaminated 55 gallon drums at the factory that used them, rather than in a Park? Why would contaminated tankers be any different? I just don’t understand the NECESSITY to store them anywhere in the Park. It just seems to be Rail trying to squeeze a few more dollars out of the enterprise by pushing their clean-up down the (rail)road. Only us bumpkins are going to see them anyway.

      Before these cars started blowing up and killing people, I watched with trepidation thousands of these cars roll through my hamlet mere feet from Lake Champlain. We wouldn’t be talking just small spills leaking into the lake, we are looking at entire, damaged tankers rolling into the lake. Both Oil & Rail would have had to see the potential problems these older tankers would present, but felt the gain was worth the risk. I don’t believe they didn’t see the ban coming.

      If Canada and N. Dakota are comfortable with revenues generated by this venture, then they should be happy to deal with the contaminated waste generated by the venture. I see nothing good for ADK citizens in storing them here, as well as suffering the daily risk of transporting crude along our waterways and through our towns. It shouldn’t matter who owns the tankers – both Oil & Rail share responsibility here. Store the contaminated cars at the sites that are generating the crude (where they can be more effectively monitored) and clean them up there. That’s all I’m asking. I guess I’m just a Pollyanna.

      • Paul says:

        I certainly don’t have a better grasp on the real world than you. I don’t think it is accurate to frame this as some kind of tar sands only issue. That is just one place that is generating crude oil that requires rail tanker cars. These cars were probably produced well before any of that project began.

        Also, this part of the “park” is an area of private land zoned for “industrial use”. So saying it should go in someone else’s industrial back yard is maybe not fair. The RR here thinks that they can profit from this – why send that profit to Canada or ND?

        As far as tar sands oil transportation the smartest thing (after not extracting such crude) to do is to pipe the oil to refineries in the midwest and south as is the plan with the Keystone project. 3 of 4 phases of the project are complete the last section (the one with all the hullabaloo) is the part of the pipeline that will transport Canadian crude to Montana where it can be mixed with US lighter crude. If phase 4 isn’t approved then they can probably enlarge some of the other parts of the pipeline already transporting tar sand oil and hopefully keep some of it from rolling through the areas you describe above.

        But people need to keep in mind that (despite the misinformation and rhetoric) Keystone XL (phase 4) will not prevent tar sands oil from getting to US refineries it already is:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keystone_Pipeline

        Given where this crud oil needs to go (see map) why are they transporting it through areas near the Adirondacks? Is it even accurate that these cars around here have tar sands oil?

  19. Bruce says:

    Boreal,

    You’re right about not being complacent but is simply moving the problem elsewhere realistically more than a feel-good “solution?” Just because someone, somewhere will take it, doesn’t mean it goes away, and that’s just where the thinking of a lot of people ends…out of sight, out of mind, “it’s not my problem.” It’s everyone’s problem.

    This article illustrates what I’m saying. NYC is trying different methods, including of course a net reduction in waste production by consumers, but there is always someone who is not happy with the proposed or actual solution. It’s what I like to call the “not in my yard” syndrome.

    http://nyc.sierraclub.org/2012/08/new-york-city-trash-where-does-it-all-go/

    I wouldn’t want the tank cars in my yard either, and yes they will be a blot on a beautiful landscape, but perhaps if people could see these things they will be reminded that something more than simply moving the problem elsewhere needs to be done. Don’t put pressure on legislatures and companies to move the problem, put pressure on them to SOLVE the problem.