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The Public, Riverkeeper and a Pipeline Representative Walk into a Library…

Pilgrim Pipeline forum

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Pilgrim Pipeline forumOn March 7, 2015 over 40 concerned citizens, local decision makers and a lobbyist representing the proposed Pilgrim crude oil pipeline packed into the Esopus Public Library. The community gathered for a public forum on the proposed 178-mile double-barreled Pilgrim Pipeline. Community members expressed serious concerns about yet another crude oil risk proposed for the Hudson Valley—in addition to the serious threat of bomb trains and river transport.

Kate Hudson, Director, Special Programs at Riverkeeper, Jen Metzger of Citizens for Local Power and Iris Bloom of Protecting Our Waters presented the community with the latest details on how the proposed pipeline could impact their health, local environment and communities. These include the impacts of a pipeline rupture and spill, as well as construction impacts.

Unlike bomb trains and river transport, the amount of oil that could spill from a pipeline is far greater— almost unlimited—until the pipeline is shut off and the leak is repaired. For example, pipeline leaks in Michigan and North Dakota within the last 5 years have resulted in spills of over 800,000 gallons each. Most recently, in January a pipeline in Montana spilled over 50,400 gallons of crude oil into the Yellowstone River, contaminating local drinking water supplies. In addition to other risks, the construction of the proposed pipeline could degrade local tributaries of the Hudson through surface disturbance, erosion and other construction impacts.

The proponents of the proposed pipeline argue that pipelines are a safer alternative to bomb trains and river transportation. However, as we have documented, pipelines carry similar risks that may be greater in some cases than other modes of transport. Additionally, it is clear that a pipeline will not eliminate or significantly reduce rail or river traffic. A pipeline will simply supplement the billions of gallons of crude oil already traveling down the Hudson Valley, encouraging more fossil fuel extraction and contributing to climate change. Yet, our communities and river bear all the risk from the proposed project, a possibility the audience was unwilling to accept.

Harnessing the community’s level of engagement, Kate’s presentation ends with 4 actions you can take today to prevent a crude oil pipeline.

1. Petition the NYS Thruway Authority and NY Department of Transportation and urge them to deny Pilgrim the ability to use the Thruway right of way for their pipeline.

2. Write to Chris Hogan Chief, Major Project Management Unit, Division of Environmental Permits at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Army Corps of Engineers (put ATTN: Regulatory Branch in your subject line) and urge them to require a full environmental review of Pilgrim’s proposal.

3. Work in your community to introduce and pass County and local/municipal resolutions opposing Pilgrim Pipeline. From our partner, Citizens for Local Power:
     a.For towns directly in the path of the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline
     b.For communities nearby

4.Urge your New York State (Assembly and Senate) and Federal elected representatives to join you in pressing regulators not to authorize the Pipeline.

If you were unable to make the Public Forum please view Kate’s slideshow below and visit for more information about this vital campaign.

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