Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings—a company led by former Koch Industry executives—has proposed to construct a set of two 178-mile long pipelines to transport Bakken crude oil and petroleum products made from it, including gasoline, diesel, and heating oil. Much of the project is proposed for the New York Thruway right-of-way (78%), with the remainder traversing residential and commercial properties, public parks, farms, and public lands. The Thruway right-of-way itself extends beyond the shoulder into what many consider their backyards.
The proposed pipelines would add yet another mode of dangerous crude oil transport in New York, in addition to current transport by rail and barge. Each pipeline would have the capacity to carry 8.7 million gallons of oil per day, which would more than double the number of “bomb trains” traveling to the Port of Albany on a daily basis during the peak of Bakken crude production in 2014. The proposed project would also do nothing to alleviate bomb train traffic through the Hudson Valley, which is bound for refineries in Pennsylvania that would not be served by the pipelines.
CLP’s Jen Metzger prepared a background paper on the project available here. On Nov. 17, CLP held an informational forum at SUNY-New Paltz, sponsored by eight organizations, to raise awareness about the project, the environmental and community risks of the proposed project, the rights of landowners, and steps local governments can take to oppose the project.
In July 2014, the Company began contacting landowners to survey their properties for the pipeline, access roads, and related infrastructure. The letter from the company implied that landowners do not have a choice, and several landowners have reported to their local elected officials that they were approached at their homes by company representatives and were told that the company had legal rights as a transportation corporation in New York. The fact is, the Company has no rights to enter private property without the express permission of the landowner, and landowners are within their rights to deny access.
In November 2014, the Town of Rosendale became the first municipality in the state to pass a resolution of opposition to the proposed project. CLP is reaching out to other municipalities in or near the proposed pipelines’ path to do the same.