Lawyers and students from Harvard Law School will help Albany County make its case in a lawsuit that claims a new federal rules on oil train safety are not strict enough, County Executive Daniel McCoy said Thursday.
The school’s Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic will help the county draft its argument to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., in support of a lawsuit brought against the U.S. Transportation Department this fall by a coalition of environmental groups.
“This is an extremely positive development for the county and our case against the DOT,” said McCoy. “By working with Harvard Law School, we will be able to have access to the highest legal analysis on this important environmental issue with no legal costs to our taxpayers for this service.”
This the first time the clinic has joined in national litigation over crude oil train issues, said Shaun Goho, a professor who is senior clinical instructor. The number of such trains has risen dramatically since 2013 due to the hydrofracking boom in the Bakken fields of North Dakota.
“So far, we are assisting only Albany County, but we could become involved later with other local governments,” Goho said.