NRDC: In a stunning and laudable reversal, New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has required Global Partners’ Port of Albany air permit application to undergo a full environmental review. Global’s air permit application is part of its plans to retrofit its existing Port of Albany crude-by-rail facility to allow it to begin handling tar sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada. The tar sands retrofit would require Global to install seven boilers that would be used to keep the tar sands warm as it is moved from rail cars into storage tanks. Eventually, this oil would be loaded onto barges and shipped down the Hudson River, destined for refineries in New Jersey, Delaware, and the Gulf Coast. Following receipt of 19,000 public comments and concerns from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, DEC has reversed its November 2013 finding that Global’s proposed project would “not have a significant environmental impact.” As one of the world’s most carbon-intensive crude oils whose production is laying waste to Alberta’s boreal forest, the DEC’s November 2013 finding flew in the face of what is known about the environmental impacts of adding tar sands oil to our fuel mix. What’s worse, infrastructure like Global’s proposed modifications would lock the region into at least 50 years of tar sands transport and use at a time when the region needs to transition to cleaner fuels, especially for transportation. Moving forward, DEC must seriously consider the cumulative and long-term impacts of approving this project on both Albany and the broader region. Read more.
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