Monday, October 30, 2017

More Oil Tanker Rail Cars Moved Into Adirondack Park

oil tanks in the adirondacksSome 25 more out-of-service oil tanker railcars were brought through North River, alongside the Hudson River in the Town of Johnsburg, Warren County en route to little used railroad track in Essex County Monday evening. This is the second shipment of out-of-service oil tanker cars delivered to the Adirondack Park. More than 50 tankers have arrived, some parked across ‘forever wild” Adirondack Forest Preserve land.  The cars are being brought for indefinite storage by Iowa Pacific Holdings.

Despite strongly worded statements of opposition to this activity by Governor Andrew Cuomo, neither the Adirondack Park Agency nor Department of Environmental Conservation have acted.

Last week, Governor Cuomo said: “It is unsightly, it is out of character with the Adirondacks, nobody goes to the Adirondacks to look at old trains, they go there to look at the natural beauty. We don’t own the tracks, there is a question as to what legal right we have to oppose it but we oppose it 100% and we are going to do everything we can do to stop the owner from storing the trains on those tracks.”

“It appears that Iowa Pacific will continue to bring in more use oil tanker railcars until the state steps in and halts this activity. There are now more than 50 oil tankers railcars stored in the Adirondacks. The company says they are here indefinitely. How many will it take for the state to act? 100? 200? 500? It’s high time for the Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency to assert their authority and stop this ill advised plan that undermines everything that the Adirondack Park is all about,” Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, said in a statement sent to the press Monday night.

Bauer said the additional tankers will fill the limited siding along the main track at the Boreas River where 28 oil tanker cars are already being stored, having been brought in two weeks ago. With the siding filled, Iowa Pacific will have to use sections of the main track.

“We run the risk of seeing Iowa Pacific create a 25-mile-long junkyard through the central Adirondack Park. This reckless and damaging plan must be stopped,” Bauer’s statement said.

Iowa Pacific Holdings, based in Chicago, operates the Saratoga and North Creek Railway. It also owns several other small boutique rail lines around the country and has recently used many miles of these railroads to store out-of-service rail cars. Iowa Pacific leases the rail line in Saratoga County from the Town of Corinth and the line in Warren County from Warren County.

These contracts prohibit storing rail cars on these lines Bauer said, though 22 boxcars have been stored next to the Hudson River, outside of North Creek, for more than a year. Iowa Pacific owns the Sanford Lake Railway in Hamilton and Essex Counties, which connects to the Warren County line in North Creek. The company brought in 28 oil tanker cars for storage on the Sanford Lake Railway in mid-October and has stated it could store over 2,000 rail cars on the roughly 29 miles of track from North Creek to the Tahawus Mine in Newcomb.

Video of the cars moving through North Creek was posted to Facebook Monday evening. Read more about this ongoing story here.


Photo courtesy Protect the Adirondacks. Video courtesy Richard Carlson.

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24 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    What specific “authority” can the state assert?

    • Boreas says:

      In reading about IP’s venture from other sources, one of the possibilities Mr. Ellis has vaguely alluded to was instead of a “payment” (recurring?) by the state to keep the storage out of the spur, IP could simply sell the spur back to NYS. This ultimately may be the most logical solution to the problem.

      • Paul says:

        You could try. Not sure the state could afford it. And it’s always tough to go from a parcel that could make some revenue for the state to one that we have to buy and then pay the taxes on as well.

        If they ever really decided to take care of the problems with Onondaga lake and they want to fill it in. This is the perfect place to get the tailings from. That would take care of that eye sore as well. I don’t know about these cars but the mine tailings are clearly visible from the HP’s.

        • Boreas says:

          Depends on how cash-strapped IP is. They may prefer to cut their losses.

          • Paul says:

            Not sure what their cash position is but they currently have 52 job openings on their website so they don’t seem to strapped?

            • Paul says:

              May be losing money on this gig but they probably don’t want to sell an asset like this?

              • Boreas says:

                I think this is the only gig they have any potential to make money on in Tahawus. Saratoga to North Creek is a different story.

                • Paul says:

                  This whole set is probably a good write off. I don’t think there is any money here. But the ROW is something that they won’t let go.

    • tom prevost says:

      They are stored in other areas of the state. look at spur along rte. 12. What about weekly inspections by outside companies? What about routine renewable certification of safety of each car? They are “attractive hazards” What about 24/7 onsite security? What about immediate and long term plans for removal of specific cars that become a safety hazard? We all know what is going to happen. When the companies paying rent stop, they will be left for the state and county to dispose of. Where is the bond to prevent this? Why are we giving them the free ride other states don’t?

  2. John Jongen says:

    Twenty-five more crude-oil bomb train carcasses being ‘parked’ in OUR ADK park. Are they nuts? Twenty-five more reasons to vote NO on Proposition 3 that would change the ‘forever wild wilderness’ clause of our NY Constitution November 7, 2017.

    • Tony Goodwin says:

      There is nothing in Proposition 3 that would allow a private company to do anything like this. Only municipalities are allowed to swap land for needed municipal projects. They can also run utilities wires under roads that cross Forest Preserve, but that’s it. Prop 3 does not do anything to materially weaken Article 14, while providing a significant potential benefit to a municipality.

  3. M.P. Heller says:

    Nice “F-Bomb” in the video. Classy….

    • Rick Tweeks says:

      Is that the Trump distraction technique?

      • M.P. Heller says:

        No. That was me taking a shot at what is supposed to be a community and family friendly website posting foul language in public.

        • Boreas says:

          Boy, I had to listen to it 3 times on my laptop to separate it out from the screeching of the cars! My speakers are quite crummy, but I doubt the tots will be that interested. But they could possibly bleep it or cut the audio.

  4. Justin Farrell says:

    Where’s those human blockade protests when we really need them? ?

  5. Healthy Mountain says:

    How does IP get to be so irresponsible? Airlines have an eco friendly disposal in progress.
    I have not found any information that the rail company’s are exempt from being responsible
    For their steel waste. Possible our mode of transit should change, until IP can help to improve
    Our environment.
    Knowing this is in our Adirondack Mt. is truely a crime.

    • Paul says:

      When it is time for disposal they can turn this into new steel for new stuff. One of my favorite companies is Nucor steel its products are almost all made from scrap. Scrapping these would be more lucrative but I don’t think they own the cars?

      • Boreas says:

        I believe the plan is that IP collects storage fees from the owners or lessors of the cars. I read somewhere it was $20-50/day/car, but don’t know if that is true. But I don’t know who pays for maintaining them while they sit – if anyone does…

        • Paul says:

          Maintain what? It will take years for anything to happen to these cars. At some point you will have to deal with them but nothing too time sensitive. Again, I think this is a bad idea but not what I would not expect from a RR. Despite all the outrage I expect they are in their legal boundaries. If you don’t want a RR in a place like this don’t give them the ROW. The county and the state made this bed.

  6. Lance Walley says:

    I do not believe the Adirondack Park should be a used as a oil tank car depository. Is there any regulatory agency over seeing this storage and when will they be removed from this pristine park. I have traveled through the Park and seen many hundreds of these oil tank cars at multiple sidings stretching from Saratoga to Cranberry Lake and beyond.

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