Council opposes Pilgrim Pipeline

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Add West Milford to the growing list of municipalities in New Jersey and New York opposing the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline.

Last week, the council was unanimous in its decision to send a message that West Milford is against this pipeline that would run through the New Jersey Highlands Preservation Area, carrying petroleum materials to and from Albany, N.Y. and refineries in Linden.

The planned route would take the pipeline right through some densely populated towns in New Jersey and through the Highlands, which provides water to millions of New Jersey residents. In the council's resolution, it specifies that the township "serves as a steward to watershed lands." "The Pilgrim Pipeline Project is not beneficial to our citizens, but instead could cause adverse effects to the region and to the citizens of the New Jersey Highlands Preservation Area, the County of Passaic and the State of New Jersey," according to the resolution.

The council said they oppose the pipeline "because of the potential degradation of New Jersey’s drinking water supply and the potential safety to our region and communities." The council also called for a moratorium on any planning, proposal and surveying prior to the completion of a full independent environmental review and impact analysis of the pipeline transportation.

Earlier this month, Councilman Mike Hensley said he would support a resolution opposing the pipeline based on the township's Environmental Commission's recommendation. The proposed route is half a mile upstream of the Wanaque Reservoir and the pipeline would carry highly combustible gas right through the region, he said.

The proposed route does not go through West Milford.

“Let's send a message so a future oil company doesn't try to run one through West Milford,” said Hensley during a previous meeting's discussion. “We are stewards of the land. It’s an opportunity to send a message: we're not interested.”

The pipeline is proposed by Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings, LLC of Connecticut. According to the company’s website,, the northeast region of the country is one of the only major population areas in the country not served by a direct pipeline connection. This leaves the area relying mostly on river barges, according to the company, which are susceptible to severe weather events. The pipeline, they said, will provide a more stable supply of refined petroleum products as well as a “safer and more environmentally sound way of transporting petroleum products.”

Pilgrim proposes the dual pipeline to run from Linden to Albany, N.Y., about 178 miles. The oil will come from the Bakken Shale region of North Dakota via rail, extracted through fracking, according to published reports.

Other towns that have publicly opposed the pipeline include Ringwood, Parsippany-Troy Hills, Mahwah, Oakland, Bloomingdale, Wanaque, Kinnelon, Pequannock and Montville.

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