Target: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy
Goal: Develop an updated oil spill response plan to protect people and wildlife, including threatened and endangered species
Federal and New York State officials recently held a public meeting to discuss the sharp surge in explosive crude oil being transported through the Port of Albany and the Hudson River corridor. Hudson spill-response teams have not updated their emergency plans to accommodate for the increased volume and environmental groups are demanding action. The Center for Biological Diversity recently filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to provide proper protection to the federally endangered and threatened species in the Hudson River and New York Bay. Urge the EPA to take responsibility and oversee the development of updated oil spill response plans.
Crude oil transport in the Northeast has dramatically surged over past two years. Two companies have already received authorization to ship nearly three billion gallons of oil through Albany, New York every year. The fuel is moved by rail and barge, and several oil trains have already derailed since the increased shipping began. The current spill response plan, for which the EPA and the Coast Guard have lead responsibility, needs to be modified to account for the different risks and response needs associated with the increased shipping activity.
Seventeen federally endangered and threatened species live along the Hudson River, including the green sea turtle, Atlantic sturgeon, shortnose sturgeon, piping plover and sea beach amaranth. These species, in addition to others, and the millions of people inhabiting the area, face severe harm from both an oil spill and emergency clean-up measures.
The oil and transportation industries place more value on profit than on people and the environment. It is not a matter of if, but when, a large oil spill will occur along the Hudson River. Urge the EPA to update its oil spill response plan to ensure maximum protection for the people and wildlife of the Hudson River corridor.
Dear Administrator McCarthy,
I am writing to urge you to respond to the Center for Biological Diversity’s recent notice of intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency based on violations of the Endangered Species Act. The Hudson River corridor is a biologically diverse area that is home to seventeen federally endangered and threatened species, as well as millions of people.
An updated oil spill response plan is urgently needed to account for the dramatic increase in shipping volume of crude oil. In just the past two years, the amount of crude oil shipped on and along the Hudson River has gone from almost nothing to well over a billion gallons per year. Several recent oil train derailments in the Northeast indicate that it is not a matter of if, but when, a major oil spill will occur.
I expect the EPA to fulfill its mission by taking proactive steps to protect the environment and its inhabitants. I urge you to take swift action to help minimize the disastrous effects of future oil spills along the Hudson River.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Daniel Case via Wikimedia Commons