Chatham Borough Budgets Lawyer Fees to Fight Pilgrim Pipeline Permit Application to DEP

Chatham resident Brendan L. Keating speaks about the political challenges in fighting the Pilgrim crude oil pipeline that is proposed to run through Chatham Borough and Chatham Township Credits: TAP Chatham
Len Resto informs the borough council of the legal battle that lies ahead with Pilgrim Pipeline Credits: TAP Chatham

CHATHAM, NJ - Council member Len Resto, representing the Pilgrim Pipeline Advisory Committee, reported that Chatham Borough must be prepared for the legal battle that is coming over Pilgrim Pipeline's plan to run crude oil through Chatham Borough and Chatham Township on its way to Linden.

Chatham Borough, which has budgeted $6,000 for its initial contribution, is pooling its money with about 15 municipalities for legal representation that will be needed when Pilgrim makes its application to New Jersey's DEP.

"When Pilgrim files its permit with the New Jersey DEP they include an environmental impact study," Resto said. "They also have to file with the Army Corps of Engineers because the Linden terminus is surrounded by waters that are under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps.

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"Here's a key point. During the Corzine administration, with all good intent, they instituted a law where the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the DEP, has to act within 90 days to a permit application. That was intended to speed up the process so it just wouldn't languish for months and months and months. So, when Pilgrim submits its permit, the DEP has 90 days to act."

Resto pointed out that he is collecting environmental impact studies from affected towns and is compiling them in order to fight the permit application.

"The DEP does not go out and conduct their own study," Resto said. "That's why with our legal representation, we may very well ask the attorney to get an environmental firm to help us do a study. What I'm doing is getting towns to submit their impacts. I'm putting them all in a gigantic spread sheet. This is really a big shared service. No one town can afford this."

At this time, PSE&G is against giving Pilgrim Pipeline permission to share its right-of-way used for electrical power lines as a path for the proposed crude oil pipeline in New Jersey. But, if that changes, Chatham and other towns will need to act quickly in opposing the permit.

The proposed 178-mile crude oil pipeline would run from Albany, N.Y., to Linden for refining and then return back through a second pipeline. It is also possible that the pipeline could bypass Linden and continue south with the crude oil pipeline.

Pilgrim Pipeline filed permits on Dec. 28 to run the pipeline along the New York Thruway on its way to New Jersey. 

Chatham residents have been animated to stop the Pilgrim Pipeline since November of 2014, forming a coalition against it.

Victoria Fife, council member, explains that some towns whose water supply could be affected by the Pilgrim Pipeline don't seem to be aware of the dangers

For more background information on Chatham's fight against the Pilgrim Pipeline Click Here

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