Bipartisan Senate Resolution Opposes Current Route of Pipeline That Would Cross Five New Jersey Counties, 30 New Jersey Towns
TRENTON – A Senate resolution sponsored by Senator Richard J. Codey and Senator Tom Kean, Jr. opposing the proposed route of an oil pipeline that would run from Albany, New York to Linden, New Jersey was approved by the Senate today.
This resolution, SR-106, urges the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, and any other federal, state, or local entity engaged in review of the Pilgrim Pipeline project to reject it as currently proposed.
The proposed project would construct two new parallel oil pipelines traveling 178 miles through five NJ counties, five NY counties, 30 NJ towns, and 25 NY municipalities carrying the highly-volatile Bakken shale oil extracted through fracking in North Dakota. According to an analysis by the Wall Street Journal comparing oil from 86 locations worldwide, Bakken shale is one of the most explosive types of oil in the world.
“As proposed, the pipeline passes through densely populated, environmentally-sensitive, and preserved lands, and any spill or incident involving this highly explosive fuel would have disastrous consequences to the New Jersey and New York residents, communities and the environment along that route,” said Senator Codey (D-Essex, Morris). “The possibility of the resulting public health crisis that would ensue makes it worthy for us to reconsider this proposal in its current form.”
The proposed route of the Pilgrim Pipeline crosses through 10 municipalities and critical drinking water supply watersheds in the Highlands Region, an exceptionally valuable area that is protected under the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act and under the Highlands Conservation Act.
The two parallel pipelines are expected to run along Route 287 through Mahwah, Franklin Lakes and Oakland in Bergen County, through Wanaque, Pompton Lakes and Bloomingdale in Passaic County, Riverdale and Pequannock in Morris County, then through Watchung, Scotch Plains and into Linden. They are expected to carry 200,000 barrels of refined petroleum products like gasoline, diesel, home heating oil and jet fuel per day from NY Harbor to points north; and 200,000 barrels of crude oil per day southbound from Albany terminals to delivery points in New Jersey.
“If tragedy strikes, this pipeline – which could carry as much as 16.8 million gallons of highly explosive crude and refined fuel through my district a day – could damage the water supplies used by millions of people,” said Senator Tom Kean (R-Morris, Somerset, Union). “The Pilgrim Pipeline would travel through areas as diverse as our most densely developed towns, to environmentally protected lands in the Highlands. As an advocate for the safety and health of the constituents I serve, I stand with the 35 towns across four counties who have spoken out in clear opposition to the pipeline. I urge the Department of Environmental Protection and United States Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a thorough environmental impact report before allowing a potentially catastrophic pipeline to run through the communities we serve.”
Many New Jersey residents in municipalities along the proposed route depend on ground water and public community water systems for their water supply and septic systems for waste disposal. This project, as proposed, would impact groundwater quality and quantity and residents’ septic fields along and adjacent to the right of way.
Residents also depend on surface water originating from communities through which the oil pipelines would pass, including the Ramapo River Basin Aquifer System, which provides 100 percent of the water for Mahwah, Ramsey, Oakland, Franklin Lakes, Allendale, Pompton Lakes and Wayne, and can supply 190 million gallons of water a day during a drought to the Wanaque Reservoir, which supplies 3.5 million people.
The resolution also calls on the Department of Environmental Protection to conduct a thorough environmental review and for the United States Army Corps of Engineers to prepare an environmental impact report for the entire route of the proposed pipeline.
Senator Codey and Senator Kean are also urging the New York Legislature to adopt a similar resolution so that both states can “stand united in opposition to this project as currently proposed.”
The resolution passed the full Senate and now heads to the Assembly for consideration.