KINGSTON – Over 300 people
crammed into the Common Council Chambers at Kingston City Hall on Saturday
afternoon to participate in a forum aimed at countering the proposed $1
billion Pilgrim Pipeline project. The room filled beyond capacity, with
almost one-third sitting in the aisles.
Speakers included a panel of Hudson Valley environmentalists, including
representatives from Scenic Hudson, Riverkeeper, Town of Rosendale, and
Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipeline (CAPP). NY State Assemblyman Kevin
Cahill, and Kingston Mayor Steven Noble also made remarks. The event was
organized by Kingston Citizens.
The petroleum-carrying Pilgrim Pipeline would involve building two transmission
pipes between Albany NY and Linden NJ – about 170 miles each. The
project path cuts across 10 counties and 55 municipalities in two states.
Much of the New York segment runs along the Thruway corridor.
Attendees were shown a screening of a short documentary, “Hudson
River at Risk 6: A Pipeline Runs Through It,” covering issues of
concern regarding the pipeline. “We’ve done a bunch of screenings
locally in the last few weeks, and rooms have been packed, bigger than
I’ve ever seen,” said executive producer Jon Bowermaster.
Cahill made it clear that he is against the Pilgrim Pipeline project.
“Welcome to Standing Rock, New York.” he told the crowd. “Yes,
we must stop this pipeline, and that pipeline,” Cahill said, referring
to the protest encampment opposing Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.
The audience responded with cheers and applause.
“The Pilgrim Pipeline would have tremendous impact in the region,
if it was built-out,” said Andy Bicking, director of public policy
at Scenic Hudson. He said the project would cross over 300 wetlands and
affect water quality.
The Site Environmental Quality Review process is underway, with a draft
scoping expected to be filed this year. Joint lead agencies are the Thruway
Authority, and the Department of Environmental Conservation.
“However, local governments have a very important role to play,”
Bicking added. “In many cases, local governments have the right
to kind of deny the right of Pilgrim Pipeline, or any linear pipeline,
to come through their community,” he said.
Jenifer Metzger, a Rosendale councilwoman, said there is a distinction
between natural gas and crude oil pipelines. “Natural gas pipelines,
for construction, are regulated by the federal government. Crude oil pipelines
are regulated at the state level. So, we are much more empowered, to have
a say over whether we think this pipeline is beneficial to our community,”
“We also know that just this past April, there was a lifting of
the 70-year-old ban on exporting of crude oil,” said Sue Rosenberg,
one of the CAPP organizers. “We can be guaranteed that much of this
oil is not even going to come to this country; it’s slated to be
Documentary Film: https://vimeo.com/182799847
See also http://pilgrimpipeline.com and https://stoppilgrimpipeline.com
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