Chatham Borough takes next step to block the Pilgrim Pipeline; looks to take fight to the state level

From a press release by Cindy Kane of Chatham Citizens Opposing Oil Pipeline (emphasis added):

Chatham Borough became the tenth New Jersey municipality to pass a resolution opposing the construction of the Pilgrim Pipeline at its council meeting on Monday, November 24. The vote was five to one in favor of the resolution.

Several residents from the Chathams and other towns affected by the pipeline’s proposed route spoke forcefully against the project during the Public Comments session, stressing the fact that the project benefits only its financial backers and pointing to recent disasters with oil spills. Chatham Township resident Faye N. Molesphini pointed to the 2010 Kalamazoo River disaster in Michigan, when a spill of over a million gallons of heavy crude oil caused massive pollution that cost $1.2 billion and took years to clean up.

“We fought hard to keep the jetport out of this area,” said Mrs. Molesphini, referring to the grass roots efforts that led to the creation of New Jersey’s Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. “It took a couple of ladies from the Garden Club. I’m not going to stop if I have to go up to the Governor’s office in Trenton and sit there in my chair.”

The crude oil pipeline, being sought by Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings LLC, would carry oil obtained by hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields in two directions between Albany, NY and Linden, NJ. Among other points, the resolution cited the toxicity created by “fracked” oil and the pipeline’s proposed path through critically sensitive sources of drinking water served by over 5 million residents, including the Highlands and Chatham Borough’s sole source aquifer.

The resolution also cited Chatham Borough’s record of stewardship of natural resources, the possible harm that construction of the pipeline might cause, and its proximity to residential neighborhoods and schools in the event of a leak or explosion.

On the successful passing of the resolution, Katey DePinto, a member of the executive board of the group Chatham Citizens Opposing the Oil Pipeline, said, “The Borough Council wrote and passed a strong resolution in opposition to the Pilgrim Pipeline. The Chatham Citizens group is thrilled that Mayor Harris and the Council support stopping the pipeline and recognize the necessary momentum to take this fight to the state level for the safety of Chatham’s residents and our water, as well as the safety of millions of others that would be affected in NJ.

In New Jersey, the pipeline is proposed to pass through approximately 30 towns. To date, Chatham Borough joins East Hanover, Chatham Township, Madison, Mahwah, Montville, Oakland, Parsippany, Watchung, and Kinnelon in passing similar resolutions. The Passaic County Freeholders and the New York towns of Rosendale and New Paltz have also passed resolutions against the pipeline.

Contact: Cindy Kane, 973-701-2566

You can read a press report about the Borough Council’s action in the Alternative Press here.

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