The company that owns the old tanker cars that were being stored in the Adirondacks has announced the cars are being removed after an outcry from environmental officials and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Union Tank Car Co. on Tuesday said it has ordered removal of about 65 empty, cleaned tanker cars from storage in the Adirondack Forest Preserve. Removal of the cars is expected to be completed by mid-January 2018.
“As we have previously explained, all railcar owners store idle railcars from time to time until they can be returned to active service,” said William Constantino, general manager-leasing for Union Tank Car in a news release. “We select the storage provider, but not the precise storage location. We regret the railroad’s decision to place some of our railcars in the Adirondack Park, which raised public concern about their effect on the park’s beauty and environment.”
The tanker cars have been parked in Minerva.
The company is relocating them to other areas outside New York state.
Cuomo said he is pleased with the company’s decision.
“That’s great news and I thank them for the prompt response and their understanding,” he said in a telephone interview.
“We are offended when someone tries to use the Adirondack Park, which is a magnificent state resource, for a storage yard for old train cars,” Cuomo added.
The state had asked the Warren Buffet-owned firmed Berkshire Hathaway, which is the parent company of Union Tank Car, to stop sending the cars to the region to “protect one of the nation’s greatest natural treasures.”
Cuomo on Dec. 19 announced that he would ask the Federal Surface Transportation Board to halt the storage of the cars. The state Department of Environmental Conservation is asking the company to immediately cease and desist receiving rail cars and remove those cars already stored there until a decision is made by the board.
Officials from Iowa Pacific Holdings, which runs the rail line, have said they needed the money from the storage to fund improvements to the rail line.
Cuomo said he has not heard from Iowa Pacific but the state is keeping the pressure on to prevent this type of storage from continuing.
“We are fully prepared to proceed with every regulatory and legal action that we can take if the track owner tries to replace those cars,” he said.
Ed Ellis, president of Iowa Pacific Holdings, SNCR’s parent company, could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.