Community leaders are celebrating the decision Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) made requiring Global Companies to file an entirely new application to proceed with the transport and processing of crude oil at its Albany terminal.
Global Companies filed an application with the DEC to renew its air emissions permit. The company also requested permission to add seven boilers used to heat crude oil to the rail site in Albany’s South End. But the DEC decided the material changes to environmental conditions in the area warranted an entirely new application because the benzene levels are concerning.
In a press release, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “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.”
For several years, the community leaders have made their concerns known about the negative effects they say the company’s work had on Ezra Prentice public housing project’s residents. Dan McCoy, Albany County executive, approved of the DEC ruling, saying he felt vindicated.
According to the DEC, benzene levels on Albany’s South End are much higher than in other locations. Benzene is a key ingredient in crude oil, and the American Cancer Society has declared the chemical to be a cause of leukemia, specifically Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). It has also been linked to Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), lymphomas and aplastic anemia.
Aaron Mair, the national president of the Sierra Club, believes that Global should be responsible for relocating Ezra Prentice residents to a place with higher environmental quality.
“Make it right,” Mair said, “and make these residents whole.”