NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Citing safety concerns and environmental damage, the Borough Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing the construction of the Pilgrim Oil Pipeline.
Construction of the proposed pipeline would stretch from Albany, N.Y. to Linden. About 30 New Jersey communities, including New Providence, would be affected.
Mayor J. Brooke Hern told a large audience of about 60 residents at this week’s council meeting that the governing body had absolutely no legal authority to act. “However, we do want to weigh in and express an opinion,” Hern added.
The mayor recommended that a resolution opposing the pipeline be added to the consent agenda for a vote which was passed.
Councilman Jim Madden said he was greatly concerned about the project, especially since it was Pilgrim Pipeline’s first attempt at such an effort.
Madden characterized the company’s lack of accountability and silence to growing concerns. “There is just no material benefit to New Providence,” he added.
Council members Gary Kapner, Armand Galluccio and Rob Munoz shared similar concerns, citing safety to families and property. “It’s not worth the risk,” Kapner said.
Council members Michael Gennaro and Dr. Bob Robinson were absent.
The approved resolution called for a moratorium on any and all planning, proposal, surveying or construction of the Pilgrim Pipeline through New Providence.
The resolution also called on the state Department of Environmental Protection, Board of Public Utilities and any other regulatory authority to oppose the project and cause the relocation or termination of the project to prevent environmental degradation and to protect public health and safety.
During the public comments session, resident Joe Testa spoke fervently about protecting water supplies. “We already have natural gas pipelines here but a crude oil pipeline is different,” he said.
Testa went on to say that when a pipeline leaks, the oil seeps downward, impacting fresh water supplies. Leaks can go undetected for days, weeks or months.
“Let’s send a clear message to Pilgrim, to the BPU, to the DEP and to our state legislators. That message is, 'no dice with our water',” Testa said.