The State Department of Environmental Conservation will serve as the co-lead with the Thruway Authority on the review process for the 178-mile Pilgrim Pipeline.
A release reads:
“After careful consideration, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has requested, and the New York State Thruway Authority has agreed, that DEC and Thruway will serve as co-lead agencies for the environmental review of the Pilgrim Transportation of New York, Inc.’s application currently pending before the Thruway Authority.
“As co-lead agencies, DEC and Thruway will ensure that a transparent comprehensive environmental review process is completed prior to any final State or Thruway approvals.”
Environmental groups had been hoping DEC would assume sole-lead status because they believe it would evaluate environmental concerns more rigorously.
“The DEC’s involvement in the environmental review process is critical to ensure that both the environment and public health and safety will be properly assessed,” said Jessica Roff, Catskill Mountainkeeper Programs Manager. “We are, however, disappointed that the DEC will share the lead agency role with the Thruway Authority. Given that the Thruway Authority stands to make a substantial amount of money through potentially leasing land to Pilgrim for the pipelines, we have significant concerns about this conflict of interest.”
In a statement, Conor Bambrick, air and energy director for Environmental Advocates of New York, said the state’s ambitious goals for renewable energy should be weighed in reviewing the project.
“Governor Cuomo has committed to achieving very aggressive climate pollution reduction goals. Reducing carbon pollution 80 percent by 2050 means that in just 34 years there will be no more fossil fuels burned in New York. As the state’s environmental watchdog, the DEC will be responsible for approving or denying this project based on a variety of factors, including whether New York can meet its climate goals with the ongoing development of a fossil fuel infrastructure. We expect that – as the federal Department of State’s assessment of the Keystone XL pipeline showed – new fossil fuels and climate action are incompatible.”
The proposed pipeline would connect Albany and Linden, NJ, and carry crude oil south and refined products north, about 200,000 barrels a day.