Albany County Executive Dan McCoy believes that ensuring we leave the world a better place for future generations starts with local action.
In 2014 County Executive Dan McCoy took important steps to get New York State to pay attention to an important environmental justice concern. His actions began as a result of a request by Global Companies to significantly expand the amount of crude oil shipped through the City of Albany and down the Hudson River and to build a 2,600 square-foot facility with up to seven boilers at the Port of Albany.
He issued an Executive Order directing Albany County’s Commissioner of Health to issue 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. He also created an expert Advisory Committee headed by Peter Iwanowicz, a former DEC acting commissioner, to conduct an investigation and to report on the transportation of crude oil through Albany County and the potential impact a large scale disaster could have on the health, safety and lives of the people of Albany County. Additionally, he called for legislation that would impose jail time and penalties for not reporting spills in a timely fashion.
County Executive McCoy along with Mayor Kathy Sheehan filed extensive comments with the United States Secretary of the Treasury as well as with our State Commissioner of Environmental Conservation. Together they called on Secretary Foxx to exercise emergency authority to address the risks Albany County faces, for the acceleration of the implementation of Positive Train Control, to mandate reduced train speed for trains carrying flammable liquids proximate to densely populated urban areas, for more information for first responders and to require carriers to provide financial assurance for reimbursement in the event of an incident.
McCoy has asked Commissioner Martens to rescind DEC’s negative declaration and to require a full Environmental Impact Statement which addresses any and all potential adverse environmental and public health impacts related to this project.
Dan McCoy’s leadership efforts have not gone unnoticed. Newspapers and journals from across the nation and internationally have reported on what he has done. And in that regard he has helped to amplify the issues and concerns and the need for change.
We need to be sure that any processing and shipping of crude oil is safe and to fully assess the impact on the public of air quality and what any expansion of crude oil activities will mean to Albany County residents and to our environment.
Dan McCoy has made a pledge to Albany County that he will continue to speak out on this issue and to make certain that our Federal and State governments address these risks.
Under McCoy’s leadership Albany County has banned the use of Styrofoam containers by food service establishments with more than 15 locations and the use of e-cigarettes on county property.
Also during 2014, McCoy convened a Waste Advisory Council to figure out what could be done to change waste disposal issues on a local level. The panel is developing proposals to facilitate diversion of organic materials for reuse as soil and fertilizer. This concept could extend the life of waste handling facilities and create a sustainable and beneficial resource for local residents and could result in creating new jobs for a sustainable economy.
As part of a green infrastructure initiative, for the last three years Executive McCoy has been working to open a nine-mile stretch of the old Delaware & Hudson Railroad between the Port of Albany and Voorheesville as the Albany County Rail Trail. Once completed, the Rail Trail will link municipalities along a safe and accessible pedestrian and bicycle route. This past year, the Rail Trail saw significant advancement with sections from Voorheesville to Bethlehem now open to the public and it is anticipated that the majority of the trail will be open for public enjoyment sometime in the fall of this year!