McKeon: Inclusion of Highlands in Proposed Pilgrim Pipeline Route More Reason to Oppose Project

Assemblyman: Albany, N.Y. to Linden, N.J. Parallel Oil Pipelines Have Potential to Harm Environment, Put Public Health at Risk & Diminish Quality of Life for Residents

(TRENTON) – Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee Vice-Chair John F. McKeon (D-Essex/Morris) issued the following statement Thursday following news reports that the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline, a 178-mile oil pipeline that would carry millions of gallons of crude oil through dozens of New Jersey towns, will move through the Highlands Preservation Area in Mahwah:

“The Highlands supply drinking water for more than two-thirds of the state’s population
Running one of the most flammable fuels in the world through one of the most environmentally sensitive areas in the state puts our water supply and our residents at an incredible risk.
There’s no going back after the water supply is poisoned and the soil is contaminated.
As the author and prime sponsor of the Highlands Act, I am dumbfounded that Pilgrim would propose going through such an environmentally sensitive area that we’ve already worked to protect.
New Jersey residents don’t want this. The Legislature doesn’t want this.
It is time for Pilgrim Pipeline to listen and respect the wishes of New Jerseyans who will have to deal with the consequences if there is ever an oil spill. Not in our home, Pilgrim Pipeline.”


Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings, LLC filed applications in New York this week for the proposed pipeline, according to media reports. While the company has not filed for permits in New Jersey, maps accompanying its application in New York show the pipeline moving through the Highlands Preservation Area in Mahwah, one of the most environmentally sensitive areas in the state.

McKeon has been a vocal opponent of the pipeline, and sponsored a bipartisan resolution (AR-191) urging the Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council and any other federal, state or local entity reviewing the project to reject it.

In 2004, McKeon authored the historic Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act to safeguard thousands of acres of land in the Highlands Region- a 1,250-square-mile swath of land stretching across Bergen, Passaic, Morris, Sussex, Warren, Somerset and Hunterdon counties, and the source of drinking water for half the state’s residents.