A proposed pipeline which would carry crude oil through Saugerties on its way to New Jersey is a disaster waiting to happen and the Town Board should oppose it, said the Saugerties spokesperson for the Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipeline.
Rosendale, New Paltz, Woodstock, Rochester, Marbletown, Rhinebeck and 21 New Jersey towns already passed resolutions opposing it, and Sue Rosenberg hopes Saugerties is next.
One reason for the opposition is the type of oil— Bakken crude from North Dakota, which is particularly volatile and is the result of fracking.
According to the plan, two parallel pipelines would run mostly along the New York Thruway right-of-way, with one carrying oil from tankers in the Port of Albany to a refinery in Linden, New Jersey; the other carrying refined petroleum back to Albany.
The pipeline may traverse private and public lands. Property owners in New York and New Jersey have already been contacted by the company, Rosenberg said.
“The bottom line is this pipeline will travel down the Thruway corridor through all our towns and through Saugerties,” said Rosenberg. “We know there’s been plenty of evidence that pipelines leak. And what they would leak in this case is very volatile, very dangerous crude oil.
“The dangers posed by the volatility of Bakken crude were made dramatically clear by recent accidents involving the transport by rail. The worst of these was a train outside Quebec,” Rosenberg said, noting that accident caused several fires and explosions, resulting in 47 deaths.
“Some say a pipeline is safer than the trains and barges which we have been very concerned about in our area. The reality is that the pipeline is not going to make it so the trains or barges won’t go. It will be in addition because of the growing need for transporting this oil. All three modes for transporting crude oil carry a very big risk,” Rosenberg said.
Pipeline officials have been demanding access to people’s property to conduct engineering surveys and some have been pressured into leasing their land to the company, Rosenberg said.
She offered to set up a meeting with the Town Board and legal and engineering experts to provide more information.
“We have asked them (Pilgrim) to also come for a public informational meeting, and as of yet they have not responded to that request,” Supervisor Greg Helsmoortel said.
Rosenberg wasn’t surprised.
“In Rosendale, they, too, invited Pilgrim representatives to come to speak and three times they didn’t show up. On the fourth meeting, Rosendale passed the resolution opposing it. So they haven’t been, at least in other towns, particularly cooperative.”