A singing response to tank car storage critiques

Iowa Pacific's Ed Ellis takes up guitar to sing how the 'deer and the blackbears still play' near his New York State rail line
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MINERVA, N.Y. — Rather than offering a cloudy outlook or a discouraging word, Iowa Pacific’s owner is now battling a New York State environmental group with a modified cowboy ballad on YouTube.

Iowa Pacific President Ed Ellis declined to comment on a recent call from the Adirondack Council environmental group for tank car owners to pull their storage agreements with Iowa Pacific’s Saratoga & North Creek Railway. But Ellis did point to a YouTube video showing him singing about the matter to the tune of “Home, Home on the Range.”

"It benefits us all to have travel options in place," Ellis said in the video. "Support for this line... can be paid by the car storage boom."

The video appears to be a response to environmental groups who have criticized Saratoga & North Creek for hosting unused tank cars, some of which are DOT-111-type tank cars once used for hauling crude oil.

The most recent hit against the railroad has come from the New York-based Adirondack Council whose leadership is calling on investor Warren Buffett to take action to remove several thousand tank cars being stored in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. Council leaders claim that most of the tank cars are owned by Marmon Group, Union Tank Car Co., Procor, and North American Tank Line, all subsidiaries of Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway company.

“We have urged Warren Buffett to remove the cars as soon as possible,” says William C. Janeway, Adirondack Council executive director, in a news release. “We asked our members to make the same request. We invite anyone who cares about the Adirondacks to join us.”

Certain local residents have contested whether the line of stored cars should continue to be classified as a functioning railroad — a designation that has bearing on whether the Saratoga & North Creek Railway, can retain the rights to operate on the tracks in the future. An Iowa Pacific representative stated that it had intentions of operating freight trains and opening a tourist railroad on the line at the time that it purchased the tracks, but did not come through with either option.

In the description on Ellis’ YouTube video, "the noise about rail cars in the Adirondacks is being made by people who are wrongly pushing to tear up the tracks."
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