Riverkeeper: In the last 12 months, a new industry has started on the Hudson River, as shipments of crude oil from the Bakken fields of North Dakota have arrived by rail in Albany, for shipment by rail and barge to refineries in New Jersey and the east coast, and by tanker as far away as New Brunswick, Canada.
These shipments are something new to the river—we’ve never had this type of oil transported on the Hudson before.
Riverkeeper’s job is to look out for the river, and right now, we’re working cooperatively with state and federal agencies to determine the consequences of a crude oil spill, to assess regional response capabilities, and ensure that we have the equipment, manpower and knowhow in place from Albany to New York Harbor to protect the river and riverfront communities from a worst-case spill scenario.
Before these new shipments of Dakota crude oil began last year, the river has of course been a conduit for petroleum products, including heating oil, gasoline, ethanol and diesel fuel. Compared to a spill of these refined products, crude oil would have different and probably greater environmental impacts, and require different equipment and response capabilities.
Currently, oil spill response assets are most concentrated in New York Harbor. That’s because a spill there would shut down commerce—an expensive proposition. We want to make sure the Hudson River ecosystem and Hudson Valley communities are given the same high consideration and protection. Read more.