Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Pilgrim Pipeline and Why It Matters to Us

There is a proposal to build a pipeline on the other side of the Hudson River, mostly along the New York State Thruway, which would carry crude oil from Albany to refineries in Linden, New Jersey. The proposed Pilgrim Pipeline Project is actually a dual pipeline system: one pipeline would carry Bakken crude oil, derived from fracking in North Dakota, from Albany to Linden; the other would carry refined products (gasoline, diesel, heating oil, and kerosene) from Linden to Albany. Each pipeline would move about 200,000 barrels (8.4 million gallons) a day.

Oil refineries in Linden, NJ
The Pilgrim Pipeline Project was a topic of discussion at last week's Conservation Advisory Council meeting. CAC member Holly Gardner, who had attended a Pilgrim Pipeline educational forum in Kingston, told her colleagues that the proposed pipeline project would have far-reaching environmental and social impact on the entire region and stressed the following:
  • The Hudson Valley is turning into an energy superhighway. There are already trains and barges carrying up to ten million of gallons Bakken crude oil through our region everyday. The Pilgrim Pipeline would double that amount.
  • The pipelines will not replace the trains. It is more likely that they will increase the number of trains. 
  • Oil pipelines are statistically three times more likely to have spill accidents than trains or barges; this is true regardless of the age of the pipes.
  • Although the proposed route is on the west side of the Hudson River, the east side of the river will be equally impacted. The proposed pipelines would cross over 257 streams and water bodies and would cross the Hudson River twice just south of Albany.
  • On either side of the pipelines, which would run for 170 miles, large tracts of land would be torn up and forests would be felled. There would be 296 crossings of wetlands, including 25 crossings of NYSDEC freshwater wetlands.
The State Environmental Quality Review process is now underway, and a public comment period will begin in the near future. You can follow the progress of the project at the DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) website. To learn more about the project's hazards and what you can do to oppose it, visit CAPP (Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipelines).

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