Borough of Chatham
Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings, LLC proposes a 178 mile bi-directional pipeline to run from Albany, NY to Linden, NJ. Bakken crude from the North Dakota shale fields will flow from Albany to Linden where the crude will be refined and returned via the second pipeline in the form of completed petroleum products such as gasoline, home heating oil, kerosene, aviation fuel, etc. The route of the pipeline has caused much controversy because it traverses the most densely populated areas in the United States and, in the case of Chatham, it is proposed to run along the PSE&G right-of-way, directly above our aquifer, which is our sole source of drinking water.
Concerned Chatham Citizens against the pipeline has been quite active in raising awareness about the pipeline and continues to press PSE&G to hold firm in their stance of denying Pilgrim their desired right-of-way use. The Mayor & Council formed the Pilgrim Pipeline Advisory Committee to gather facts on the project and they have been busy doing so.
Formation of the Municipal Pipeline Group
Fifteen (15) municipalities in Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset and Union Counties announced on September 6, 2016 that they have joined together to create the Municipal Pipeline Group (MPG). The primary purpose of the group is to ensure that the interests of the affected municipalities and their residents will be protected when the pipeline company applies for permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and other governmental regulatory authorities. The MPG has retained legal counsel and will coordinate activities among the municipalities to protect critical environmental resources. “The group conducted a review and selected one of the premier environmental attorneys in New Jersey to represent our collective interests in a cost-effective manner”, stated Mahwah Council President John Roth.
The MPG will continue to work closely with the Sierra Club and Food & Water Watch, advocacy groups that are opposed to the pipeline. &ldquoAll of the MPG members have adopted resolutions opposing the pipeline,&rdquo said Mayor Bill Laforet of Mahwah.
The group consists of the following municipalities: Berkeley Heights, Chatham Borough, Chatham Township, East Hanover, Fanwood, Florham Park, Livingston, Madison, Mahwah, Montville Township, Oakland, Parsippany, Scotch Plains, Wanaque, and Watchung. It is an outgrowth of a series of public information sessions on the pipeline proposal hosted by Watchung and Madison, and follow-up meetings of the mayors and other elected officials from towns on the proposed pipeline route. “The governing bodies of the MPG's members recognized the benefit of one larger team to raise our collective voice in unison to oppose the significant dangers of the pipeline, that the issues presented by the pipeline proposal are complex, addressing them would require the advice of legal and environmental experts, and that it would be more cost effective for the towns to collaborate and share expenses,” said Chatham Borough Mayor Bruce A. Harris.
Pilgrim has filed for its DEP permits in New York State and it is expected they will do so in New Jersey later this year. New Jersey law requires NJDEP to rule within 90 days of a permit request. The DEP does not conduct its own independent environmental study. Chatham Borough Council Member Len Resto commented “This is why, as a group, we need to be ready at a moment's notice. We will continue to reach out to the many other municipalities whose citizens and critical water resources are impacted, because we are ALL in the same situation and must join forces to have an impact and be cost-effective.”
The MPG invites and encourages other municipalities to join.
For more information contact:
It is the Committee's understanding that Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings has engaged a lobbying/public relations firm in Princeton, NJ to assist it with the promotion of their project. In addition, the Committee further understand that Pilgrim is about ready to begin its permitting process before a myriad of governmental bodies. These include the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Army Corps of Engineers, etc. Finally, the Committee has heard that Pilgrim is re-engaging with PSE&G in requesting permission for access to PSE&G's right-of-way to locate its pipeline. Both Concerned Chatham Citizens and the Environmental Commission of the Borough of Chatham have written the CEO and President of PSE&G thanking PSE&G for their stance in thus far denying Pilgrim access to their right-of-way and asking that PSE&G stand firm in that position.
As you know, the vast majority of municipalities along the proposed route of the pipeline have passed resolutions against the pipeline as have numerous counties, including Morris County. The New Jersey State Legislature has passed such a resolution and Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ 11 th District) has come out in opposition. The Committee is heartened by these developments; but, our work has only begun. This fight is a marathon, not a sprint. Chatham Borough is in the forefront of trying to muster interest among many municipalities to share costs of legal help in order to oppose the pipeline as time goes on. Resolutions alone will not stop this pipeline.
How can you help? Write PSE&G and ask them to stand pat on their stance regarding denying Pilgrim access to PSE&G's right-of-way. Write your local, county and state representatives asking that they remain ever vigilant to this real threat to our drinking water and way of life.