NEW YORK, March 12 (Reuters) - New York's Albany County on Wednesday issued a moratorium on the expansion of crude oil processing in the Port of Albany, pending a public health investigation by the county's health department.
Storing crude oil at the port could create "a condition detrimental to the public health and safety" of local residents, the county said in a statement. It was unclear how long the moratorium would last.
The moratorium follows growing concerns about an increase in the transport and processing of crude oil in the county, which has become an important supply hub for the region. Oil is shipped via rail from across the United States and Canada to Albany, where it is processed or barged further south.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order in January directing state agencies to conduct reviews of safety procedures and emergency responses relating to the shipment of crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota.
"We need to be sure that any processing and shipping of crude oil is safe and determine fully what impact it may have on the public," said Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy.
The moratorium would affect an oil-processing expansion project proposed by Global Partners LP, Albany County said in its statement.
Global Partners is seeking to build several boilers at the Port of Albany, the statement said. The boilers would heat crude oil before it is off-loaded and shipped for refining.
Global Partners was not immediately available for comment.