For several months long trains of rail cars full of crude oil can be seen inching along, or stopped altogether, beside I-787 in downtown Albany NY. Other tankers fill the rail yards off I-90 not far from the SUNY campus. All are waiting to offload into the tank farm at the Port of Albany for transfer onto barges for transport down the Hudson River to the New York harbor, and from there to Philadelphia and other East Coast refineries. There is simply so much oil pouring through Albany these days that the limited number of holding tanks, and the relatively small size of the river-going tankers, can just barely manage it.

The trains, up to 80 tankers each, originate in the growing Bakken oil fields of Dakota and Montana and have traveled over a series of states and down the old NY Central tracks through the Mohawk Valley without attracting much notice – in stark contrast to the huge political and public relations battle over the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada into Texas.