The 170-mile Pilgrim Pipeline, which passes through the Hudson Valley on its route from Albany to Linden, NJ, will face a thorough environmental review, following a declaration of “positive impact” released Thursday, Sept. 15 by the state DEC and Thruway Authority.
The positive declaration outlines some of those potential impacts calling for further study, among them:
- Passing over 257 areas containing surface water and 80 acres of wetlands that could be affected during construction.
- Groundwater- numerous aquifers and two aqueducts serving New York City, and areas of shallow groundwater where the water table is less than three feet below the pipeline, which could be contaminated by a spill.
- Transportation- Much of the pipeline will pass along the Thruway right-of-way, an “unprecedented” use of that land, with construction or a spill potentially having an impact on traffic as well. The pipeline could also affect possible expansion of the Thruway in the future.
- Human health- The declaration mentions the potential “hazard to human health and the environment in the event of a pipeline rupture, possibly due to malfunction, natural disaster or security breach.”
The full list can be found here.
The positive declaration was greeted positively by local opponents.
“The Hudson Valley would get no direct benefit and bear all the risk,” said Scenic Hudson Director of Environmental Advocacy Hayley Carlock. “Under current safety measures—pipelines aren’t regularly inspected—a pipeline leak would be devastating. There’s no evidence that the pipeline would reduce crude transport here by rail and barge. The proposed pipelines aren’t in the best interest of the Hudson Valley and would be at odds with Gov. Cuomo’s laudable renewable energy goals—50 percent by 2030.”
Over the last few years, many area municipalities have expressed opposition to the project. The most recent manifestation was the passage of resolutions by 25 towns and four counties last year calling for DEC to be the exclusive “lead agency” tasked with conducting the review. The DEC and Thruway Authority ended up being co-leads.