NJ Gubernatorial Candidate Positions on Pilgrim

CAPP has been meeting with 2017 New Jersey gubernatorial candidates to educate them about Pilgrim’s proposed pair of oil pipelines across northern NJ.  Here is the verbal and written position information we have obtained from the candidates, in alphabetical order of the candidate names:

Bill Brennan (Democrat)

CAPP met with Mr. Brennan on January 9 and he stated his unequivocal opposition to the pipelines regardless of their route. Mr. Brennan provided CAPP with the following statement:

Bill Brennan has confirmed that he is categorically opposed to any new pipelines in the State of New Jersey; particularly the Pilgrim Pipeline.  Bill is committed to making New Jersey the first state in the nation to rely on 100% renewable energy. Pipelines that facilitate fossil fuel transit are an obstacle to renewable energy resources.  The environmental impact of fossil fuels coupled with the national security issues related to foreign oil have never been included in the cost per barrel of oil, ton of coal or cubic foot of natural gas.  Pipelines encourage fracking, guarantee leakage and facilitate climate change.  A firm and direct stand against fossil fuels is our best hope at mitigating the impending catastrophe. Bill Brennan understands what is at stake and intends to throw every conceivable roadblock at his disposal in the path of the fossil fuel industry.

His web site has a similar public statement of opposition: http://www.brennan2017.com/issues/

Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (Republican)

Assemblyman Ciattarelli and his staff have had brief exchanges with CAPP but have not held any meetings with CAPP.

His website  does not specifically mention the Pilgrim Pipeline. https://www.jack4gov.com/my-plan/

Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno (Republican)

Lt. Governor Guadagno and her staff have had brief exchanges with CAPP but have not held any meetings with CAPP.

Her web site does not specifically mention the Pilgrim Pipeline. http://www.kimfornj.com/on_the_issues

Jim Johnson (Democrat)

CAPP is working to set up a meeting with Mr. Johnson.

At the New Jersey Working Families Alliance on March 8, Mr. Johnson made the following statements:

  • He is against the Pilgrim Pipeline.
  • The pipeline is problematic from an environmental perspective.
  • He is committed to creating a more democratic process for making such decisions.

His web site does not specifically mention the Pilgrim Pipeline. http://jimjohnson4governor.com/the-issues/

Seth Kaper-Dale (Green)

Reverend Kaper-Dale has stated verbally that he is unconditionally opposed to the Pilgrim Pipeline regardless of the route.

At the New Jersey Working Families Alliance on March 8, Rev. Kaper-Dale made the following statements:

  • He opposes all new proposed pipelines across the board.
  • There must be a moratorium on allowing such new pipelines while at the same time not allowing wind farms and gutting the energy trust fund.

His web site does not specifically mention the Pilgrim Pipeline. https://www.kaperdaleforgovernor.com/environment

Senator Ray Lesniak (Democrat)

CAPP met with Senator Lesniak on March 24.  After discussing the pipeline project with him, Senator Lesniak stated, “If I am your governor, you can be sure that oil pipelines like this will never be approved by my DEP and threaten our water supply.”  He then asked, “How can I help stop this pipeline?”  He is the only candidate to date who has responded in this manner.

Senator Lesniak’s campaign provided the following statement:

Senator Lesniak unequivocally opposes the dual Pilgrim Pipelines regardless of their proposed route in New Jersey.  The Senator has stated that these pipelines present totally unacceptable risks to our water, property values, environment and public health while providing virtually no benefits to our state.  In addition, the development of new oil pipelines perpetuates our dependence on fossil fuels at a time when we need to move quickly to green renewable energy technologies which will also greatly expand employment opportunities and grow our state economy.

His web site (http://ray4gov.com/the-issues/environmental-protection/) has a similar statement opposing these pipelines.

Phil Murphy (Democrat)

Mr. Murphy stated at a Sierra Club event in 2016 that he was committed to “embracing solar, wind, a clean energy agenda…pushing back on stuff that is not only bad for the environment but makes no sense — you name the pipeline of your choice.”

CAPP met with Mr. Murphy’s policy advisor on December 1, 2016 and asked for a written statement regarding the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline. On March 2, CAPP received the following statement:

Mr. Murphy has stated that he will make decisions on environmental infrastructure projects in the context of a new energy master plan that takes account of our renewable energy goals.

At the New Jersey Working Families Alliance on March 8, Mr. Murphy made the following statements:

  • He has been pretty negative on all new pipelines proposed in New Jersey.
  • He has not studied the Pilgrim Pipeline at the same level as the PennEast and South Jersey pipelines.
  • No one has been able to make a compelling business case on these pipelines.
  • The environmental concerns and consequences are significant.
  • The only positive element/compelling rationale to these projects is job creation.
  • Through a new energy master plan New Jersey has multiple avenues to create green jobs (smart grid, wind and solar) in the near term.

His web site does not specifically mention the Pilgrim Pipeline. https://www.murphy4nj.com/issues/protecting-the-environment/

Assemblyman John Wisniewski (Democrat)

CAPP met with Assemblyman Wisniewski on January 27.  His staff asked CAPP to draft a statement summarizing the results of the meeting and has agreed with the following:

Asm. Wisniewski stated at a meeting with CAPP NJ on 1/27/17 that he is opposed to the Pilgrim Pipeline running through the open space areas in the Highlands, but if another route which avoided open space is proposed, he would not oppose it.

At the New Jersey Working Families Alliance on March 8, Asm. Wisniewski stated that new proposed pipelines are a mistake for one important reason – that they are proposed to go through protected lands and critical watersheds that NJ has worked for decades to protect.

His web site does not specifically mention the Pilgrim Pipeline. http://wiz2017.com/category/policies/

Mark Zinna (Democrat)

CAPP met with Mayor Zinna on March 25.  He has posted the following position statement on his website http://www.markzinna2017.com/pilgrim_pipeline:

Our state should not greenlight more fossil fuel projects. Period.

We should have a moratorium on new pipelines: That means no reroutes for proposed pipelines and no easements for new pipelines from here on out. Any politician who is “against” pipelines yet “for” reroutes will put us at risk. Any politician “for” renewable energy but not “against” pipeline expansion is part of the problem. Either they do not understand how dangerous pipelines are, or they are in Big Oil’s pocket. 

The Pilgrim Pipeline would sully the pristine New Jersey Highlands and put the drinking water of 4.5 million New Jerseyans at risk. People as far away as Newark drink water that is sourced in the Highlands. While visiting the Highlands to learn more about the Pilgrim Pipeline, I saw an amazing diversity of life, including a soaring bald eagle. The Highlands should be defended not abused.

The economic benefit from building the Pilgrim pipeline is virtually nonexistent regardless of what the Koch alumni at Ares Management tell us. It will create virtually no jobs, and the oil won’t even be used in New Jersey. It’ll be piped back to Albany.

The crude oil that derives from the North Dakotan Bakken shale is some of the most explosive oil in the world, and yet this company tells us that pipelines are safe. 

The Pilgrim Pipeline is slated to go through the Ramapough Mountain Indians’ land. In unity with the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota, the Ramapough founded the Split Rock Sweetwater camp to protest the pipeline expansion. We cannot continue to exploit the vulnerable. 

So from a perspective of climate change, environmental justice, the ecosystem, economics, and human health the Pilgrim Pipeline fails to reach even the most measly standards.

I am proud to be against the Pilgrim Pipeline and all pipeline expansion. We don’t need them; we’ll do better without them.