Citing Public Health Concerns Albany County Issues Executive Order: Moratorium on Crude Oil Processing
March 12, 2014
Following a directive from Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy, the county today issued a moratorium on the expansion of the processing of crude oil at the Port of Albany pending a public health investigation by the Albany County Health Department.
Today’s order states that the heating and storage of crude oil at the Port of Albany could create a “condition detrimental to the public health and safety of the residents of Albany County.”
The order further states that pending the results of a public health investigation, Global Partners, the company seeking to expand crude processing at the port, cannot expand or increase current operations there. McCoy recently ordered the county Department of Health to determine the health risk posed to county residents by the processing of crude at the port. Under New York State Public Health Law, the county Health Department is empowered to address threats to public health or safety.
“It is my duty as County Executive to take the necessary measures to protect public health and safety,” said McCoy. “We need to be sure that any processing and shipping of crude oil is safe and determine fully what impact it may have on the public. Recent events demonstrate that we fully assess the risk and impact on the public.”
The Executive Order also directs the Health Department to report on possible health threats due to the expansion of activities by Global Partners and requiring the department to work with the Albany County Sheriff’s Department and other county departments to determine the potential impact a large-scale disaster could pose to the public.
It has been reported that Global Partners is seeking to build several boilers at the Port of Albany, which would be used to heat crude oil before it is off-loaded and shipped for refining. There have been concerns raised that the company would increase the shipping of tar sands oil, which requires the processing at the port.
In January, the County Executive and leaders of five local communities sent a letter to the DEC asking that the state subject Global’s plan to more public review and disclosure. Shortly after thereafter, the DEC scheduled a public information session in Albany on Feb. 12. On Jan. 29, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order directing state agencies to conduct a comprehensive review of safety procedures and emergency response relating to the shipment of crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota.
Department of Health Order
Albany County Executive Order 14-02