ESSEX COUNTY AREA – Assemblyman John McKeon and Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex/Morris) released the following statement on Wednesday denouncing the Pilgrim Pipeline, a 178-mile oil pipeline that would cross 30 New Jersey municipalities. The legislators issued the statement in response to a ruptured oil pipeline that on Tuesday, spilled an estimated 21,000 gallons of crude oil near the Santa Barbara, California coast:

“The Santa Barbara oil spill—like the Yellowstone spill earlier this year—is an unfortunate and painstakingly clear example of the danger oil pipelines can pose to the environment. Over the last few months, New Jersey residents have been consistent in their opposition to the Pilgrim Pipeline plan, and their biggest fear, understandably, is that what’s happened on the West Coast could happen here at home,” McKeon said.

He added, “Preventing the contamination of the Highlands and protecting wildlife at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge must be a top priority. Nothing with the potential to compromise those natural resources and the people they benefit ought to even receive consideration in our state.”

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“The apologies and clean-up efforts that follow events like this always tend to be too little and too late,” he said. “Rather than react with regret and outrage after a tragedy, we will continue to be proactive about our duty to defend the environment and the people of New Jersey.”

Jasey added, “Maybe the facts and figures don’t impact certain people, but I cannot imagine how anyone could see photos of Refugio State Beach and El Capitan State Beach and continue to believe that the Pilgrim Pipeline is worth any of the risk.”

“Tuesday’s oil spill is the latest in a litany of environmental disasters that resulted in costly damages and posed unthinkable threats to land, water and wildlife,” she said. “The people of New Jersey are smart enough to see through Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings’ gimmicks. They’re standing against the Pilgrim Pipeline, because they know that their drinking water—much of which comes from the Highlands—and the overall health and safety of their families are far too valuable to take a gamble on.”

“We stand in solidarity with those New Jersey residents, knowing that putting up a fight for environmental protection today is far better than poring over photos of environmental damage tomorrow,”  said Jasey.  

McKeon and Jasey are sponsors of a bipartisan resolution to oppose the Pilgrim Pipeline project (AR-191). The measure in December gained Assembly approval.