Pipeline Status

IMPORTANT NOTE: As a hazardous liquid pipeline that does not cross an international border, the federal government has very little role in regulating the placement of the Pilgrim Pipeline.  Almost all the regulation is at the state level.

This differs from natural gas pipelines, where the Federal  Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has a primary role in the siting of new pipelines.  Most of the other controversial pipeline projects in the Northeast are natural gas pipelines.

New Jersey

New Jersey’s review process begins when Pilgrim files for permits with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The DEP will use the data provided by Pilgrim, and other interested parties, to determine if permits should be issued to allow construction to proceed.

Pilgrim’s Filings with State/Local Authorities

  • Pilgrim has had preliminary contact with the DEP, but it has made no filings yet.


Permit Reviews

  • No permit reviews yet.  The review process will begin sometime after permit filings.


Potential Legal/Political Obstacles to the Project

  • The DEP could refuse to issue needed permits.
  • Landowners along the route, and PSE&G, can refuse to provide easements, and a court could rule that Pilgrim does not have the right of eminent domain.
  • Municipal ordinances restricting building permits for pipeline construction, and upholding these ordinances in court.


How We Can Block the Project

  • Permits: We’ve hired an environmental engineering firm to review all DEP documents/procedures, and to produce our own environmental information to ensure DEP uses all available means to deny permits (especially 401 water quality permits). When the DEP asks for comments from the public, a large response will also be important. We can sue the DEP if there is evidence that permits were provided improperly.
  • Easements: We’re educating landowners on the importance of refusing to sign easement agreements. We have been in contact with PSE&G.  PSE&G says it will not allow use of its right of way at this time, but might revisit this if the DEP or the State take certain actions.
  • Eminent Domain: If Pilgrim tries to obtain eminent domain power from a court or the BPU, we’d likely oppose this in court.  To be granted eminent domain power, Pilgrim would have to prove it serves local communities —  which it clearly does not!
  • Ordinances:  restrictions on building permits for pipeline construction have been passed in 12 municipalities (see the list here).  If your town has not passed one, encourage them to do so.
  • Municipal Allies: The MPG (see below) is formulating a legal defense strategy to support any court challenge to ordinances restricting pipeline construction, and pooling financial resources for legal expenses.
  • Ask candidates for Governor and Legislature to publicly oppose the project.  CAPP is meeting with the major gubernatorial candidates to educate them and ask for their support.


Related organizations

  • All of the municipalities along the proposed route, and many others, have passed resolutions opposing the pipeline.  12 have passed ordinances restricting pipeline construction.  See the list of resolutions and ordinances here.
  • PSE&G announced that they were not in favor of sharing their right-of-way with the pipeline.
  • The Municipal Pipeline Group (MPG) is a coalition of 15 municipalities along the pipeline route that recognize the benefit of a larger team to work together to pool resources to oppose the threat of the pipeline.  The MPG has engaged the services of an environmental attorney;  had discussions with CAPP about our environmental study (see below); and met with the DEP.  The MPG is looking to expand its membership to include more towns.  A strong legal defense is much more likely than if each town had to deal with this on their own.


CAPP Actions in NJ

  • Hired the environmental engineering firm Princeton Hydro to assess the available data and ensure that the DEP review comprehensively includes all risks posed by the pipeline project.
  • Making plans to bring in legal counsel to assist in any challenges to DEP decisions.
  • Planning events in areas most affected by the pipelines to raise awareness and solidify local opposition to the project.
  • Have been meeting with the NJ gubernatorial candidates and campaign representatives to determine each candidate’s position on Pilgrim.  See a compilation of their statements and positions here.
  • See the CAPP NY/NJ events page here.


CAPP Committees in NJ

Please contact us if you are interested in working with one of these committees!

New York

New York’s review is governed by the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).  More details on SEQRA can be found here.

Pilgrim’s Filings with State/Local Authorities

  • Pilgrim submitted a Longitudinal Use and Occupancy Permit application and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). [August 2015]
  • NYSTA forwarded the permit application to local governments and agencies that may be “involved agencies”.  [November 2015]
  • The DEC determined that it will be a co-lead agency for the environmental review along with the NY State Thruway Authority (NYSTA).  Most of the proposed route in New York is along the Thruway right-of-way.  [December 2015]
  • Municipalities along the route filed objections to allowing NYSTA to participate as co-lead agency due to its potential conflict of interest since it may receive payment from Pilgrim for use of its right-of-way.  The DEC Commissioner reaffirmed the decision.


Permit Reviews

  • The lead agencies announced that they had issued a “Positive Declaration” that the project has potential environmental impacts, triggering the start of the SEQRA review process.    [September 2016]
  • We are awaiting the beginning of the scoping process, where the environmental and public health impacts of the proposal are assessed, followed by a public review and comment period.


Potential Legal/Political Obstacles to the Project

  • The NY Transportation Corporations Law of 1909 requires incorporated villages and cities to approve a pipeline passing through their municipalities by a 2/3 vote.  In principle, this would allow any village or city along the route to block a section of the pipeline; this law has never been tested in court.
  • The SEQRA review could conclude that the environmental risks of the pipeline is too high.
  • The NYSTA could be directed to not share its right-of-way.
  • Private landowners along the route could refuse to provide easements.
  • A court could rule that Pilgrim does not have the right of eminent domain.


Related organizations

  • The NYSTA, which is a co-lead agency for the SEQRA review, would likely receive payments from Pilgrim if it allows pipeline access to the Thruway right-of-way.
  • Most of the municipalities along the proposed route, and many others, have passed resolutions opposing the pipeline.  See the list of resolutions here.


CAPP Actions in NY

  • Strategizing on how citizens can be involved in the scoping process.
  • Planning events in areas most affected by the pipelines to raise awareness and solidify local opposition to the project.
  • See the CAPP NY/NJ events page here.


CAPP Committees in NY

Please contact us if you are interested in working with one of these committees!

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