Struggles continue across the country to stop construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure projects, which threaten our water and other resources, worsen the climate crisis, and take people’s property and lands by eminent domain. Many people from our area have travelled to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, delivering food, clothing, medicines, and other supplies and joining members of more than 300 Native American tribes to defend ancestral lands and waters against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would carry fracked and volatile Bakken crude oil. Here in New York, the fight continues as communities seek to prevent construction of the first crude oil pipeline in New York State since the 19th century: The Pilgrim Pipelines project would transport Bakken crude and refined products made from it between Albany, New York, and Linden, New Jersey. As proposed, each of the two parallel pipelines would carry up to 8.7 million gallons through towns, villages and cities in the Hudson Valley.
The State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) of the project is now underway, with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and NYS Thruway Authority (the “co-lead” agencies) issuing a Positive Declaration of the project’s potential for numerous substantial environmental impacts (full text of the Positive Declaration can be found here.). The next step in the process is “scoping” to identify all of the possible impacts that must be assessed in the review. The company, Pilgrim Transportation of New York, is expected to submit a draft Scoping Document describing potential impacts to be considered, and the co-lead agencies are required to provide opportunities for public comment. It is vital that communities weigh in to ensure that all local impacts are incorporated into the final, approved Scoping Document—if anything is left out, it won’t be considered in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
CLP also believes that it’s vital for the co-lead agencies to consider the full life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the oil that will be carried through the pipelines. Because pipelines are extremely long-lived infrastructure -- lasting 50 years or more -- building them would lock in oil consumption and its associated emissions for decades to come, at a time when we need to be keeping it in the ground. Including both the upstream emissions (from producing the oil) and downstream (when it is refined and eventually burned), the oil that would be carried through the pipelines would produce 32-40 million metric tons of emissions each year. These are enough to offset all the climate gains New York State has pledged to make through all its energy policies by 2030. Watch for a call from CLP to submit public comments once the draft Scope has been released.
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SAVE THE DATE — Saturday, January 28, 2017
CLP is sponsoring an event organized by Kingston Citizens, “The Proposed Pilgrim Pipelines Project: What Citizens Need To Know and How Local Action Makes Global Impacts,” on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 (1-4 pm) at Kingston City Hall. Speakers include Jeremy Cherson (Riverkeeper), CLP Director Jen Metzger, and Sue Rosenberg (Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipelines/CAPP). Award-winning journalist, author, and filmmaker Jon Bowermaster will open the event and show his short film, “Hudson River at Risk 6: A Pipeline Runs Through It.”