At the November 17th meeting, the Council quietly passed a resolution formal stating Riverdale’s opposition to the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline. Riverdale is not alone, a number of NJ towns have already passed similar resolutions including Oakland, Mahway, Chattam, Montville, Parsippany, and Watchung to name a few. You can read Riverdale’s actual resolution here.
For those not aware, the Pilgrim Pipeline is a pair of 24″ underground pipes. One would transport Bakken Crude Oil arriving in Albany, NY down to Linden, NJ for refinement, the other would move refined petroleum products such as heating oil and gasoline back up the Northeast corridor. The project is a being proposed by Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings out of Canton, CT; a company create for the sole purpose of developing this pipeline. Currently transportation is managed by barges moving up and down the Hudson River.
The Pilgrim Pipeline’s website touts both economic and environmental benefits but environment groups strongly disagree. The NY-NJ Coalition Against the Pilgrim Pipeline site’s numerous concerns which your can find on their Web and Facebook pages. The Sierra Club has a lot of information as well but since this is Eye on Riverdale, we will focus on concerns specific to our town.
First, the route being discussed will follow the NY Thruway down from Albany the bang a right down Route 287 right through Riverdale. This would put 3 sources of water for Riverdale residents at risk if there was a break in the line; the Wanaque Reservoir which supplies northwest sections as Matthew Avenue and Rock Creek Terrace (as well as the rest of Riverdale when needed), private wells of Highlands Basin servicing Stoneleigh resident in the southwest, and private wells along Degraw Road in the northcentral section. From a purely environmental perspective, our wetlands along the Pequannock River would also be at risk.
How big of a risk? Considering these pipes would run over the recently-active Ramapo fault, and that underground contamination could render both primary and secondary water sources for Riverdale residents useless for a very long time, I would say the risks are quite high. Private well owners near the pipeline track also run the risk of damage to their wells just from the installation alone.
What would the benefits be for Riverdale residents? Really, I can’t think of any. The pipeline would be installed in right-of-ways along Route 287, Riverdale residents who have right-of-ways on their property or next to it would be helpless once the money-machine starts churning. Any savings that might be trickled down to consumers from Big Oil would not even be noticeable when considering the volatility of the oil market.
In some towns, such as Kinnelon, people showed up in droves to oppose the pipeline. Surprisingly, no one in Riverdale showed up in support of the resolution last Monday but it’s not too late to get involved. Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings is supposed to release a map of the pipeline’s route by December 31st. Let the games begin!