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Rensselaer Chosen As Emergency Fuel Site

The city of Rensselaer has been designated as the host of one of six “strategic fuel reserves” by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

With memories of the recent trio of devastating storms — Irene, Lee and Sandy — and disruptions they caused still lingering, the Cuomo administration has unveiled plans to centralize sources of gasoline and diesel fuel for easy access to emergency responders.  The program is being administered by the state Energy Research and Development Authority with $10 million in funding from the state Power Authority.

NYSERDA spokeswoman Kate Muller:    "To prepare for future emergencies and severe weather events, Governor Cuomo implemented Fuel NY, which is a fuel infrastructure protection strategy, from the pipeline to the pump. This strategy is designed to restore normalcy as quickly as possible after a major storm or disaster."

The announcement comes at the two-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. In a press release, Cuomo said the fuel reserve will allow emergency responders to work even in the event of a prolonged disaster and addresses “vulnerabilities discovered in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.”

That hurricane hit two years ago, causing extensive damage in New York City and elsewhere. It led to gas shortages across the Northeast.

Two and half million gallons of fuel will be sent to six storage sites scattered across New York: Buffalo, Rochester, Marcy, Vestal, Brewerton and in Rensselaer, across the Hudson River from Albany, which Mayor Dan Dwyer says was spared by the last storm:     "We had minimum damage here. Everything was taken care of, no problem at all. I received a phone call yesterday from the gentleman who is handling it for the governor, saying that Rensselaer was selected as a reserve site in case of emergency they would be able to access that fuel.. it's down in the industrial area where the tanks are already in place."

Credit WAMC photocomposite by Dave Lucas

The fuel is owned by New York State, and the reserves are managed by Buckeye Terminals, LLC. Again, Kate Muller:  "Fuel NY is the nation's strongest program for meeting the backup electricity requirements of gas stations as well, to be better prepared for a declared emergency. Those gas stations are located in downstate and are required to have back-up power in the event of an emergency. Additionally, Fuel NY has established the first-in-the-nation State Strategic Gasoline Reserve, which is located on Long Island."

Suppliers will be able to pre-register with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to facilitate distribution of fuel upon declaration of an emergency and release of the strategic fuel reserve in their region.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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