Letters (June 12-19)

Derailment would be devastating

So much fracked and tar sands crude oil is being shipped through our communities in Ulster County that the 10-minute wait in our cars at local train crossings has become 15 minutes, and soon it will be 20 minutes. The industry plans to double the shipments on our local rail tracks, on the Hudson River and in a new “Pilgrim Pipeline” down the Thruway. More shipments mean more chance for catastrophe, as the trains pass houses, shops and schools. There has already been more oil spilled from rail cars in 2013 than in the last 40 years combined!

Recent oil train derailments in North Dakota and Canada have meant devastating spills and explosive fires. The Association of American Railroads reports that only 14,000 of the 98,000 railroad cars they use are insulated. The rest are easily punctured, hence the explosive fire storms, because the Bakkan crude oil is highly volatile, burning at a low temperature. Railroad men have nicknamed these oil trains “Bomb Trains.”

Near-misses have already occurred in New York State, including the December 2012 grounding of the Stena Primorsk tanker in the Hudson River with (luckily) one of its two hulls torn open, the November 2013 crash of an oil train and truck at a grade-level crossing in West Nyack, and the December 2013 derailment of an oil train in Cheektowaga. The north-bound oil train which derailed in Ulster this February was empty, luckily.


Because of the toxic, viscous quality of tar sands crude, a Hudson River tanker spill would be impossible to clean up. One tar sands oil spill into the Kalamazoo River in 2010 has left the river black and dead despite over one billion dollars spent on the “clean up.” After we’ve worked so hard to clean up our magnificent Hudson River, we cannot allow this kind of risk!

When you hear that lonesome whistle blow, realize it is not your grandfather’s train, in neither quantity nor quality. Tar sands oil extraction emits 81 percent greater greenhouse gases than traditional oil. For our homes, for our Hudson River, for the planet, it is time to say no to this immediate threat. Time to say no to extreme extracted fossil fuel and say yes to clean, safe renewable energy.

On June 17, 7 p.m. at the Saugerties Library, Frack Free Catskills will host a program with video and speaker about this urgent, too-close-to-home concern.

Susan J. Murphy


Support community action

On Thursday, June 19from 4–6:30 p.m., Ulster County Community Action is having a benefit barbecue at the Academy Green Park which is located at 238 Clinton Ave. Kinston to benefit a local area food pantry program called the Backpack/Snack pack Program which provides food for needy children in Ulster County. The cost is $12 per person, and the menu includes barbecue chicken, coleslaw, rolls and desert. The program is one of many that Ulster County Community Action provides to the area in order to assist people in need throughout Ulster County. Ulster County Community Action assists the 184,000 residents of Ulster County through local area food pantries and soup kitchens which supply food to people in need while also providing other valuable services to the County. Some of these programs include: the HEAP Program which provides financial assistance to Ulster County residents who need help in paying their home heating bills during the winter, the Head Start Early Childhood Education Program which is available at schools throughout Ulster County, the Weatherization Program which provides insulation and weatherizing of homes throughout Ulster County and the Core Services Program which provides a variety of services to the financially needy throughout Ulster County that includes the subsidizing of youth Little League fees for the children of parents who cannot afford to pay for the registration fees associated with youth sports programs.

As a member of the Ulster County Community Action’s Board of Directors along with village of Saugerties Trustee Don Hackett, we would like to encourage anyone who is in need (themselves) or knowing of anyone who is in need to contact Ulster County Community Action at (845) 338-8750 or feel free to contact either one of us for more information. And please come to the barbecue Avenue and support the Backpack/Snack pack program.

Chris Allen
Ulster County legislator


Calling Saugerties Library Friends

As part of the Saugerties Library centennial celebration, the Friends of the Library group wishes to publish a booklet featuring those Friends who have supported the library and made it such a central part of the community.

Friends of the Library began in 1996, and the Album Committee would like to honor its volunteers with photos from that date to the present.

If you have interesting photographs depicting events such as the Library Fair, Wine & Cheese Party, volunteers helping to furnish the renovated library , doing landscaping, collecting books, or anything else related to the library, the Album Committee of the Friends would like to see them to consider sharing them via the booklet.

If you are or were a Friend and have an interesting human-interest photo of yourself which you would like to submit for consideration in the booklet, the committee would also like to hear from you.

Please label your photos with identity of persons, place and time and submit them to the Main Desk of Saugerties Library. All photos become donations to the Friends of Saugerties Library Album Committee which will appraise submissions for publication.

Eleanor Redder