Good News on Global

View of Global Partners facilities at the Port of Albany. Photo by Times Union.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has informed Global Partners LP that an air quality renewal permit for its Albany terminals, approved more than four years ago, would be considered as a new application, which requires the department to begin the environmental review process anew.

This past fall, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NY DEC) announced that it will require a full review of Global Partners' (Global) plans to upgrade their oil heating facility to process tar sands crude. The decision is a victory for LCC and advocate partners who had pushed NY DEC to consider the company's Port of Albany air permit renewal application as an entirely new application and require a comprehensive environmental review process including impacts of tar sands crude oil transport by rail along Lake Champlain. Tar sands crude is viscous and dense and heavier than other crude oil. It sinks to the bottom when spilled in water and is nearly impossible to clean up.

DEC intends to provide a public comment period and possibly a public hearing as part of the new permit application and require Global to develop an enhanced outreach plan that fully explores the impacts of its existing and proposed crude operations on the affected community.

"Global Companies must restart its environmental review process, given the significant new information about the benzene levels in Albany's South End community and the hazards of crude oil transport," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "DEC will ensure that this process includes a meaningful and thorough opportunity for public engagement."

The review will require an analysis of:

· Benzene levels;

· Noise impacts to the adjacent community;

· Odor issues potentially attributable in part to the facility;

· Incidents involving spills and fires;

· Visual impacts from the storage of railroad cars;

· Potential for increased greenhouse gas emissions associated with the processing of crude oil derived from tar sands;

· Potential inconsistency with the Albany's waterfront revitalization plans;

· Projected sea-level rise that could impact the facility; and

· Potentially cumulative impacts associated with the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project.

The comprehensive review makes it much less likely that we will see tar sands crude traveling by rail along Lake Champlain's New York shoreline. Click here for a copy of NY DEC's letter to Global.