A Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary has decided to remove its idle crude oil rail tankers from a New York forest preserve after the state’s governor objected to their storage there.
Chicago-based Union Tank Car said Tuesday that all 65 cars it has in the Adirondack Forest in northeast New York will be removed by mid-January.
That ends the brinksmanship started by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week over the storage of the tankers leased by freight railroads to haul crude oil.
After residents complained, Cuomo sent a petition to federal rail regulators asking for the storage site to be shut down.
He also called out Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway, saying the firm led by Chief Executive Warren Buffett should do the right thing and remove the cars voluntarily.
The message was received.
“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. “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 railroad doing the storing is called Iowa Pacific and is also based in Chicago. It operates short-line railroads and related businesses, such as the tanker storage one. The company didn’t respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
Last week, Cuomo said in a statement that he was opposed to Iowa Pacific’s plan to store as many as 2,000 idled crude oil tankers in the forest on rail lines it controls.
And now, Cuomo has the cooperation of Union Tank Car. GM Constantino said Tuesday the company will store the tankers — idled due to a dropoff in North American crude oil production that is slowly now rebounding — at alternate locations “outside the state of New York ... and ensure none of our cars are stored in the Adirondack Park in the future.”
The Omaha World-Herald is owned by Berkshire Hathaway.