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News stories tagged with "safety"

The "red zone" in downtown Lac-Megantic, Quebec. NCPR File Photo: Brian Mann
The "red zone" in downtown Lac-Megantic, Quebec. NCPR File Photo: Brian Mann

NPR: First Responders Unprepared For Another Oil Train Disaster

This week, we've been looking at the aftermath of that deadly train derailment in Quebec that left 47 people dead. The accident in Lac-Megantic one year ago has opened a new debate over the safety of the massive oil-tanker trains that are passing daily through towns here in the North Country.

It's also caused communities across the US to ask whether their fire departments and emergency crews are ready if that kind of train disaster occurred here? As NPR's David Schaper reports, many first responders say they don't have the equipment, the manpower or the training to respond.  Go to full article

NY Firemen's Association warns against fireworks

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) The Firemen's Association of the State of New York is reminding residents that fireworks are illegal in the state and are urging Fourth of July celebrants to leave the pyrotechnics to the professionals.

The organization, which represents volunteer firefighters, says that more fires are reported on July 4 than on any other day of the year.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/abardwell/82371497/">Andrew Bardwell</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: Andrew Bardwell, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

NY Senate passes tougher drunk driving penalties

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York's Senate has passed a measure that would toughen penalties for multiple driving while intoxicated convictions.

Under the measure, a person convicted of three or more DWIs within 15 years would be charged with a Class D felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.  Go to full article
Photo: David Sommerstein
Photo: David Sommerstein

NY dairy farms will get surprise inspections from OSHA

Workplace safety rules are about to get a little stricter on New York dairy farms. There's an ongoing, national debate about workplace safety on farms, which are exempt from many federal regulations.

In 2012, the Department of Labor proposed rules that would protect children from the most dangerous farm tasks. The Labor Department ended up withdrawing that proposal. About a year later, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, announced plans for a program of surprise inspections for New York dairies. The random visits are set to begin in July, in response to an alarming trend of frequent accidents in the industry.  Go to full article
Several CSX trains carrying crude oil derailed and exploded last week in Lynchburg, VA. Photo: Elyssa Ezmirly, used with permission
Several CSX trains carrying crude oil derailed and exploded last week in Lynchburg, VA. Photo: Elyssa Ezmirly, used with permission

Feds order disclosure of crude oil train shipments

Railroads will have to tell emergency responders when and where shipments of crude oil are traveling on the rails. That's according to a new order the U.S. Department of Transportation released yesterday.

The rule comes following a string of oil train spills and explosions dating back to last summer's deadly blast in Quebec. The latest occurred last week in Lynchburg, Virginia. The DOT is also "strongly urging" oil companies to pull the most dangerous tanker cars off the rails as soon as possible.

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer praised DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx's order yesterday. "A week ago, I asked the secretary to implement this rule," Schumer said by video release, "because the number of tanker cars containing flammable crude oil that are going through our communities in upstate New York is on the dramatic increase and should, god forbid, one of those tank cars derail, it could create an explosion."

David Sommerstein joined Martha Foley to talk about the new rules.  Go to full article
Several CSX trains carrying crude oil derailed and exploded Wednesday in Lynchburg. Photo: Elyssa Ezmirly, used with permission
Several CSX trains carrying crude oil derailed and exploded Wednesday in Lynchburg. Photo: Elyssa Ezmirly, used with permission

Another oil train explosion; NY urges better train safety

Several CSX rail cars carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in Lynchburg, Va., Wednesday afternoon. Authorities evacuated the area as plumes of black smoke filled the sky. There were no immediate reports of injuries, but there were reports of oil spilling into the James River.

The latest railroad accident involving crude oil came just hours after New York released a report saying the federal government is failing to keep rail towns safe and urging President Barack Obama to act.  Go to full article
A train of oil tankers. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/11072040@N08/6184231577/">Russ Allison Loar</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
A train of oil tankers. Photo: Russ Allison Loar, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

NY agency to test air near crude oil shipping hub

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) State Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens says the state will start testing for air pollutants in the neighborhoods around Albany's Hudson River port, which has become a hub for crude oil shippers.

The testing program announced Tuesday is in response to residents and local officials who have raised concerns about the health and environmental impacts of increased crude oil shipments through the port by train and ship.  Go to full article
The Black River last Thursday, when it was over its banks. High water on the river is being cited as a hindrance in recovery efforts, as are fast-moving water and debris. Photo: Brian Caird
The Black River last Thursday, when it was over its banks. High water on the river is being cited as a hindrance in recovery efforts, as are fast-moving water and debris. Photo: Brian Caird

Canoeist missing on the Black River

Update 4/24: The search for a man missing on the Black River continues.

The unidentified man and an unidentified woman were canoeing just east of Watertown Monday evening when their canoe capsized. The man was swept downstream. The woman was pulled ashore, treated at Samartian Medical Center, and released.

According to WWNY TV, authorities have recovered some of the man's personal items.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's department is conducting the investigation.  Go to full article
The Black River in full spate, almost four feet above flood stage, noon Thursday April 17.  Photo: Brian Caird
The Black River in full spate, almost four feet above flood stage, noon Thursday April 17. Photo: Brian Caird

Updated: Black River receding, but officials urge caution

UPDATE - 2 P.M. High water in the Black River continues to fall. According to the the National Weather service, the water level at Watertown reads 11.5 feet at this hour. The Schroon River also continues to fall, but remains in the moderate to major flood zone, at just over 9 feet at Rivebank.

UPDATE - 8 A.M. The Black River is falling this morning. According to the National Weather Service, it's now just over 12 feet at Watertown, still two feet above flood stage, but down a foot and a half since it crested early yesterday morning.

It had been expected to crest at 14.2 feet, but after reaching 13.8 feet the river fell through the day. Those levels are still the second highest the Black River has been in recorded history. Flood warnings remain in effect for Jefferson and Lewis counties, and counties along Lake Champlain.


APR 18, 2104 - People along the Black River in the Watertown area were watching the river closely today, after forecasters predicted the Black would come close to setting a new record for high water as it crested. But as of this afternoon, the water levels are going down, according to the National Weather Service and emergency crews on the ground.  Go to full article
Demonstrators at the capitol call for state action against transport of crude oil on New York train tracks. Photo: Karen DeWitt
Demonstrators at the capitol call for state action against transport of crude oil on New York train tracks. Photo: Karen DeWitt

Green groups pressure Cuomo on rail oil trains in NY

National environmental groups are putting the spotlight on Gov. Andrew Cuomo, over the issue of the expanding international oil distribution center, located just blocks from the State Capitol, at the Port of Albany.

They call this Cuomo's "Keystone" moment.  Go to full article

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