CHATHAM, NJ - An amendment to a code ordinance designed to regulate pipelines and protect Chatham Borough's infrastructure and water supply from oil and hazardous material pipeline leaks was unanimously passed on first reading on Monday night at the Borough of Chatham Council meeting.

The six-page amendment to Chapter 189 of the Borough Code titled "Regulation of Oil and Hazardous Substance Pipelines" will be up for adoption at the Aug. 14 meeting. Before the August meeting, the Chatham Borough Planning board will be asked to review and approve the amendment.

"The lawyer for the pipeline group felt that it would be advantageous to the communities impacted potentially by the Pilgrim Pipeline, but any pipeline that could come in the the future that carries oil or any other hazardous substance, to be able to have something that would specifically address that rather than have a land-use ordinance whereby anything that is not permitted is prohibited," Council member Len Resto, chairman of the Pilgrim Pipeline advisory committee for Chatham Borough, said. "The lawyer for the MPG (Municipal Pipeline Group) felt it would be better to have something more specific."

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Len Resto, chairman of the borough's Pilgrim Pipeline advisory board, explains the reasoning behind the ordinance.

The MPG is a group of municipalities pooling funds for legal counsel in order to prevent the Pilgrim Pipeline from running crude oil through a two-way pipeline from Albany, N.Y. to Linden and back to Albany. The proposed route would run through Chatham Borough and Chatham Township, among other towns.

The amendment says in part:

Whereas, the Mayor and Council believe that it is in the best interest of the health, safety and welfare of its residents that the Borough Code be amended to provide that oil and hazardous substance pipelines that are not public utilities and are not regulated by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities are specifically prohibited within the residential and affordable housing zone districts of the Borough and shall constitute conditional uses in all other non-residential zone districts of Chatham Borough, subject to provisions of the ordinance.

"So it's better to regulate than prohibit," Council member Peter Hoffman said.