Assemblyman JOHN F. MCKEON
District 27 (Essex and Morris)
Opposes Pilgrim Pipeline project in NJ.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Assembly Resolution opposing the Pilgrim Pipeline project in New Jersey.
Whereas, Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings is proposing to build two new parallel oil pipelines through the States of New Jersey and New York that would transport crude oil and refined petroleum products between Albany, New York and Linden, New Jersey; and
Whereas, The pipeline will carry oil extracted from North Dakota’s Bakken shale formation, produced through the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking; and
Whereas, The transport of crude oil increased more than 4,000 percent in North America between 2008 and 2014 as a result of the increased production of crude oil from the Bakken shale formation; and
Whereas, In February 2014 the Wall Street Journal compared oil from 86 locations around the world and found Bakken crude oil to be the most explosive; and
Whereas, The Pilgrim Pipeline project would expand capacity to bring more of this very volatile fuel into the State on a route that passes densely populated and environmentally sensitive areas, and preserved lands; and
Whereas, The Pilgrim Pipeline project raises significant safety concerns for the State of New Jersey including potential harm to municipal and county infrastructure, and would likely have a negative impact upon future development in the community; and
Whereas, The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) only has approximately 135 inspectors and 375 state partners to oversee 2.6 million miles of pipeline, and only a fifth of that pipeline system has been inspected since 2006; and
Whereas, A pipeline spill or rupture could harm communities, the environment, and drinking water supplies and would negatively affect the health, safety, and welfare of the State’s residents; and
Whereas, The New Jersey Legislature recognized the significance of the New Jersey Highlands Region and afforded special protection to the region and its resources in 2004 with the passage of the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act, which created the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council and the Highlands Regional Master Plan to ensure resource-based planning would be used in the Highlands Region to combat sprawl and the depletion of water quality and quantity, as the region provides drinking water to 5.4 million State residents; and
Whereas, The federal government acknowledged the exceptional value of Highlands resources and the urgent need for their preservation in 2004 when Congress passed the Highlands Conservation Act which recognizes the importance of the water, forest, agricultural, wildlife, recreational, and cultural resources of the Highlands Region, and the national significance of the region to the United States; and
Whereas, The current proposed route of the Pilgrim Pipeline crosses through 10 municipalities and critical drinking water supply watersheds in the Highlands Region, and many State 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, and this project will impact groundwater quality and quantity and residents’ septic fields along and adjacent to the right of way; and
Whereas, Many State residents depend on surface water originating from communities through which the oil pipelines will 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, during drought can supply 190 million gallons of water a day to the Wanaque Reservoir, which supplies 3.5 million people; and
Whereas, The PHMSA reports 280 significant incidents annually with oil pipelines, and if an incident were to occur along this proposed route, it could potentially impact the drinking water of millions of residents in New Jersey and New York; and
Whereas, The wise stewardship of the natural resources of the State of New Jersey requires protection of water supplies and other natural resources for generations to come; and
Whereas, Protection of the State’s water supplies and resources is better accomplished by prevention of contamination and environmental degradation, rather than attempting to clean up contamination and restoring degraded environments after the fact; now, therefore,
Be It Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. This House opposes the construction and operation of the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline and 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 the project, and thereby prohibit its construction through New Jersey.
2. In addition, this House calls
for a moratorium on any and all planning, surveying, and construction of the
Pilgrim Pipeline through the State of New Jersey, because this project will
traverse and negatively impact numerous significant natural resource areas of the
3. This House also calls for a full environmental review of the project and calls on the United States Army Corps of Engineers to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the entire route of the project under the National Environmental Policy Act. Additionally, this House calls on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to conduct a thorough environmental review of the project, including a Highlands Act review.
4. This House further urges the New York State Legislature to adopt a similar resolution so both states can stand united in opposition to this project.
5. Copies of this resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, shall be transmitted by the Clerk of the General Assembly to the President of the United States, the Commanding General and Chief of Engineers of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, each member of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation, the Governor of New Jersey, the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, the Governor of New York, and the Senate President and Assembly Speaker for the State of New York.
This resolution expresses the Assembly’s opposition to the Pilgrim Pipeline project and urges the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), 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 the project. The resolution also urges the Army Corps of Engineers to prepare an environmental assessment for the project under the National Environmental Policy Act and calls on the NJDEP to thoroughly review the project’s impacts.
The Pilgrim Pipeline project would construct two new parallel oil pipelines in the State, linking Albany, New York, and Linden, New Jersey. The pipeline would transport Bakken shale oil produced by fracking in North Dakota. This oil is highly explosive and pipeline transportation would threaten local communities with the risk of spills and other accidents. The pipeline would cut through communities that are already overburdened by pollution, and environmentally sensitive areas that supply drinking water to the State’s residents.