As many as 44 trains a week, each loaded with at least a million gallons of volatile crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken region, move through upstate New York, according to documents released Tuesday by the state.
CSX Transportation said it hauls an average of 20 to 35 trains a week across 17 upstate New York counties. Canadian Pacific said it hauls an average of five to nine crude oil trains a week through five counties from the Canadian border to Schoharie County.
The Department of Transportation in May ordered railroads to give state officials specifics on oil train routes so that emergency responders can better prepare for accidents. CSX and Canadian Pacific complied, but asked New York officials to avoid publicizing the information. Their request was denied.
The disclosures come in the wake of a string of fiery accidents involving Bakken crude. Derailments of Bakken tank cars have caused explosions in North Dakota, Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma and Quebec, where 47 were killed when a runaway train crashed in Lac-Megantic last July.
On Tuesday, environmental groups asked federal transportation officials to ban shipments of volatile crude in older railroad tank cars, which, accident investigators say, can rupture or puncture during wrecks. The Obama administration has said it will propose a new rule this month governing tank cars that could include retrofits of older cars and tougher standards for new ones.