Monday, January 30, 2017

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Hundreds pack anti-pipeline forum at Kingston City Hall

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.


SRO for pipeline opponents

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.

“Yes, we have to take steps to this pipeline and that pipeline. Yes, we have to take steps to make sure that we shift to another form of energy. And it doesn’t matter what kind of energy we are using, we are using too much,” Cahill said.  “We are using too much non-renewable energy, but we are even using too much renewable energy. This is not about supply; it’s about demand.”

Cahill told the crowd, “Welcome to Standing Rock, New York, 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.”

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,” she said.

“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 exported.”


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