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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo yesterday announced additional efforts aimed at protecting state residents from potential accidents involving the transportation of crude oil, including a second targeted round of rail inspections and recommended changes to federal spill response plans."Our preparedness and response plans must be adequate ahead of time — not after tragedy strikes," said Cuomo in a press release. "We have seen too many crude oil disasters, and with continued comprehensive safety and emergency response reviews and efforts to improve federal policies and regulation, we can help ensure that New York is doing everything possible to prevent mishaps and keep crude oil transport safe."On Wednesday, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) completed a second series of targeted inspections at rail yards in the Capital Region and western New York. Inspectors from the Federal Railroad Administration and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration also participated in the inspections.Inspectors performed a mechanical inspection of brakes and other safety equipment, including tank cars that carry crude oil, rails, ties and other equipment. They also performed a hazardous materials inspection to ensure equipment complies with regulations, including valves, valve closures, and placards. NYSDOT’s first inspections completed in late February found numerous issues, including defective equipment, broken rails and non-compliant tank cars, state officials said."Safety is our top priority, and NYSDOT is committed to ensuring that the freight rails and equipment meet all standards and do not pose any hazards," said NYSDOT Commissioner Joan McDonald. "[We] will continue to partner with federal officials on this coordinated enforcement effort, in response to the increased shipment of crude oil by rail."Earlier this week, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens issued a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging an update to its decades-old oil spill response plans. "It is critical that federal spill response plans be revised to protect New York’s most environmentally sensitive areas and critical infrastructure from oil spill disasters," said Martens. "[We] will continue to partner with our federal counterparts, including the U.S. EPA, to protect our residents, communities and natural resources from the growing threat of crude oil being transported through our state."