crude oil

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

New federal rules about the safety of rail cars that carry crude oil through upstate New York towns like Syracuse don’t go far enough according to Sen. Charles Schumer. He says it’s now time for Congress to get involved.

Schumer doesn’t like the long-awaited Department of Transportation regulations meant to improve the safety of the train cars carrying flammable substances, which he calls "TNT on wheels.”

"There are serious holes in the regulations the DOT commissioner put out, and we’re going to fill those holes, and fill them immediately,” said the senator.

Mike Mozart / Flickr

With spring approaching, gas prices are on the rise across the country and in central New York.  And the increase may be a little more dramatic at pumps in the Syracuse area.

According to the AAA Western and Central New York, this region watched  the price at the pump jump an average of 22 cents a gallon last month. And that’s pretty typical for this time of year, as oil companies make the expensive switch from winter to summer blend fuels, and take some refineries offline for maintenance.  

New York State Department of Transportation

New standards for how crude oil is shipped along rail lines through states like New York are moving forward, but Sen. Charles Schumer says the process needs to move faster.

The crude oil crossing the nation now is hauled in train cars known as DOT-111’s. Safety advocates say the cars are outdated and lack equipment to stop leaks or explosions. Introducing newer models has been a slow process. 

Tom Magnarelli/WRVO (file photo)

Sen. Charles Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are welcoming the announcement today by the federal Department of Transportation for increased safety measures for rail cars that carry crude oil.

With more oil being shipped via train from the Bakken region in North Dakota and adjacent Canada to the East Coast, and more accidents involving those tanker cars, safety concerns have been growing.

Schumer told reporters today that he hopes the rules will be implemented as soon as possible.

Jenna Flanagan / Innovation Trail

Albany County officials recently tried to reassure the public over concerns about the crude oil trains that travel through the city. Officials have acknowledged the trains pose a significant risk but they also admit that depending on the nature of an accident, there’s little they can do.