Legislation Assembly Democrats Linda Stender, John McKeon and Mila Jasey sponsored to express opposition to the construction of pipelines that would transport oil through environmentally sensitive areas of New Jersey was approved 54-5-13 in the Assembly on Thursday.
The bipartisan resolution (AR-191) urges the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council and any other federal, state or local entity engaged in reviewing the Pilgrim Pipeline project to reject the project.
“Our opposition to the Pilgrim Pipeline project is rooted in the simple notion that there is no reset button when it comes to the environment. Once water that millions of New Jersey residents consume is poisoned or agricultural and wildlife resources are destroyed, looking back and wishing that we had done more to stop this project will be too little, too late,” said Stender (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “Any benefit whatsoever of running highly explosive fuels through the backyards of New Jersey residents is far outweighed by the countless risks to our land, our water and our overall wellbeing. The people of New Jersey agree that this project has no place in this state, and we will honor their wishes by fighting tooth and nail against it.”
“When we consider that this project would go through the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to numerous plants and animals, and the Highlands, which supply drinking water for more than two-thirds of New Jersey’s population, it’s easy to see why strong bipartisan opposition to this plan exists,” said McKeon (D-Essex/Morris). “This measure is about protecting New Jersey families, which must always be the first priority of legislators in our state.”
The resolution would also urge the Army Corps of Engineers to prepare an environmental assessment for the project under the National Environmental Policy Act and would call on the NJDEP to thoroughly review the project’s impacts.
“We’re always better off preventing the contamination of our water and resources now than trying to restore them later,” said Jasey (D-Essex/Morris). “The potential for disaster is far too high for us to even consider moving forward with this dangerous plan that jeopardizes our land, our water supply and the health and safety of our residents.”
The 178-mile Pilgrim Pipeline project would consist of two new parallel oil pipelines transporting Bakken shale oil between Albany, N.Y. and Linden, N.J. The sponsors noted that the volatile nature of the oil would pose a significant risk to local communities in the event of a spill or other accident.
The resolution now awaits Senate consideration.