Cuomo condemns tanker car storage north of North Creek

Tanker cars from the UTLX train car company are stored on ancillary lines in Minerva, north of North Creek. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has opposed the storage of these 28 cars, saying they are out of place in the Adirondacks.
(Photo provided — Brendan Wiltse)

Tanker cars from the UTLX train car company are stored on ancillary lines in Minerva, north of North Creek. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has opposed the storage of these 28 cars, saying they are out of place in the Adirondacks. (Photo provided — Brendan Wiltse)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has spoken out against the Saratoga and North Creek Railway’s storage of tanker cars on its unused tracks near North Creek, siding with environmental groups after the controversial train cars rolled into the Adirondacks Oct. 17.

“We oppose it 100 percent, and we will do everything we can to stop the owner from storing on the tracks,” Cuomo said, responding to a reporter at an unrelated press conference, according to the Post-Star of Glens Falls. Cuomo described the cars as being, “unsightly, out of character with the Adirondacks.”

The Saratoga and North Creek Railway, a branch of the Iowa Pacific Holdings Company has been storing excess cars on siding lines since 2012, providing a parking spot for some of the 125,000 train cars kept in storage nationwide.

Last week, the company parked an additional 28 tanker cars on its private tracks along the Boreas River north of North Creek in the town of Minerva to be stored indefinitely, Iowa Pacific CEO Ed Ellis.

The company charges $4 to $15 per day per car it stores for companies.

Photos taken by co-founder of Adirondack Wilderness Advocates Brendan Wiltse reveal the cars are owned by the Chicago-based UTLX company.

A press release from UTLX announcing the opening of an Ohio facility says the company is “North America’s leading manufacturer, lessor and maintainer of railroad tank cars used primarily by the chemical, petrochemical and food industries.”

Though it has not been revealed what the tank cars once carried, Iowa Pacific said all cars have been emptied, cleaned and inspected.

The state Department of Transportation inspected the tankers to make sure they were intact and stored correctly, reporting no problems.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency, as well as environmental groups Protect the Adirondacks and the Adirondack Council, have opposed the storage of train cars in the Adirondacks. In a joint statement, the DEC and APA pledged to look into legal and regulatory options.

Protect the Adirondacks has started an online petition with 3,636 signatures as of Friday evening.

Though there is currently no effort to cease the storage of the cars, Cuomo has committed to addressing the issue, saying he is unsure of the legal right to oppose it but will do whatever he can.

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