Blogs > Docket > Questions or concerns about Pilgrim Pipeline’s land access activities? Contact the AG’s office.

Questions or concerns about Pilgrim Pipeline’s land access activities? Contact the AG’s office.

The Pilgrim Pipeline is a 178-mile double-barreled pipeline proposed to be constructed from Albany to Linden, NJ. Volatile Bakken crude would move down one 18-inch barrel while refined products such as gasoline or heating oil would travel up the second 16-inch barrel. The 18 inch pipeline could carry 200,000 barrels or 8.4 million gallons of Bakken crude oil a day. Maps show the company’s proposed route following the New York Thruway. However, the Pilgrim Pipeline Company has not received the required permission from the State Thruway Authority and Department of Transportation. Furthermore, it has not even submitted an application to those agencies. It remains unclear whether the Pilgrim Pipeline will ultimately receive that permission. Without that permission, the bi-directional pipeline will need to traverse private property in many locations.

Unlike the highly regulated siting process for a gas pipeline, overseen by either the New York Public Services Commission for instate gas pipelines and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for interstate gas pipelines, there is no government agency at either the state or federal level charged with responsibility for overseeing the siting process for an oil pipeline like Pilgrim. This has left property owners in two states, New York and New Jersey, confused about their rights when approached by Pilgrim representatives seeking access to their property in order to conduct surveys to inform the company’s potential route selection.

New York land owners within the proposed route in New York have received letters and consent forms claiming that Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings LLC, “must conduct a preliminary civil survey…along the preferred corridor related to the proposed Pilgrim Project.” Additionally they say, “As a courtesy, Pilgrim wishes to obtain consent permission to enter your property to perform the above-mentioned field surveys.” Property owners have found this language confusing and misleading with respect to Pilgrim’s legal authority to enter their land.

In fact, Pilgrim has no right to enter private property and if landowners choose not to give their consent, Pilgrim representatives are required to stay off their property or those representatives will be trespassing. Legal representatives of Pilgrim have also sent threatening letters to landowners in New Jersey misrepresenting Pilgrim’s legal authority and implying that the company had some right of eminent domain which would allow them to “take” private property. This is also not the case.

Specifically, Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings LLC currently has no legal right, without the consent of the landowner, to enter, survey or build a crude oil pipeline on private property in New York.

Property owners and residents who have concerns or questions about Pilgrim Pipeline and interactions with the company’s representatives can now call the New York Attorney General’s office Consumer Protection hotline to seek information or to register a complaint. Anyone contacted by Pilgrim Pipeline LCC representatives can document their interaction using this form and/or call the New York State Attorney General’s Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau at 845-485-3900.

Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings LLC must apply for and be granted a number of state and federal permits before the company can move forward with building its proposed pipeline even on Thruway Authority right of way property, if that is ultimately authorized. The company has not yet even submitted the required permit applications. If and when it does, there will be a required environmental review that will give the public an opportunity to express their concerns. Riverkeeper will continue to monitor the situation in New York and will advocate for a comprehensive review process.

We urge those who live in Rockland, Orange, Ulster, Greene and Albany counties who are concerned about the tactics employed by Pilgrim representatives to gain access to property along the proposed route to contact the New York Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau at 845-485-3900 to communicate your questions or complaints.

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