Demonstration Builds Momentum Against Pilgrim Pipeline
Demonstrators Oppose Controversial Pilgrim Pipeline
Seventeen Resolutions in New York and New Jersey Urge Dangerous Pipeline Not Be Built
New Paltz, New York: Shouts of “No oil spills, not one drop, Pilgrim Pipeline’s got to stop!” and “Flaming, flaring, fracking crude – Pilgrim Pipeline, don’t intrude!” drew scores of supportive honks from passing vehicles in New Paltz on Tuesday, December 2nd during the evening rush hour. About 45 demonstrators held striking visuals, including a “night light” show proclaiming “NO PIPELINE,” organized by the New Paltz Climate Action Coalition.
The demonstrators, who are part of a much broader two-state coalition to Stop Pilgrim Pipeline with over 40 organizations involved, also held up a big black pipeline dripping with symbolic oil, a banner proclaiming “No Fracking Pipeline,” and photographs of exploding pipelines with the question, “Are you prepared?” near the New York State Thruway Bridge.
“I can’t believe the Koch Brothers-associated Pilgrim Pipeline corporation would even dream of putting their destructive pipes in the ground right here, under our beloved Walkill and Rondout waterways,” said Ann Guenther, co-chair of New Paltz Climate Action Coalition. “They will be stopped right here, in the home of the world-famous Gunks rock-climbing community; and right now, when the world’s scientists have issued their fifth dire warning about severe climate change.”
The demonstrators’ goal: to persuade the NYS Thruway Authority (and NYS DOT) to deny Pilgrim Pipeline Company the permission they would need to build two large 30” pipelines to carry Bakken Shale crude oil south from Albany to Linden, New Jersey and refined products north along the same route. The two side by side pipelines, organizers say, would not only damage land and water along the way, but endanger residents because Bakken shale oil is extra-flammable and harms to air and climate.
“We are aware that Pilgrim Pipeline Corporation has already behaved in an intimidating way towards property owners in Tillson, Plattekill, Saugerties, Tuxedo Park and other towns along the proposed pipeline route,” said Miriam Strouse, co-chair of New Paltz Climate Action Coalition. “We will not tolerate such bullying, not towards our communities and not towards our climate.”
“We are thrilled that the towns of Rosendale and New Paltz both just passed resolutions opposing the Pilgrim Pipeline, adding to 15 other resolutions already passed,” said Rosendale resident and Protecting Our Waters director Iris Marie Bloom. “We are here today to press the New York State Thruway Authority and NYS Department of Transportation to deny Pilgrim the permissions it would need to move its proposed polluting, dangerous project forward. When cradle to grave impacts from Bakken shale fracking, flaring, and infrastructure are considered, Pilgrim Pipeline climate impacts are extreme and unacceptable.”
“Bakken shale oil is well known to be more flammable and explosive than your grand-daddy’s crude oil,” said Dan Guenther, an engineer and organizer for New Paltz Climate Action Coalition. “We don’t want to see explosions on the New York State Thruway, let alone crude oil flowing downstream in the Rondout, Wallkill or Hudson Rivers. We are determined, we are organized, and we will stop this pipeline.”
A few of the facts demonstrators pointed to underline the urgency of stopping this pipeline:
- According to the federal government, pipeline incidents happen more than once per day, with 631 spills, leaks and explosions per year for the past 10 years in the U.S. alone. (PHMSA)
- In 2012, an oil pipeline leaked over 800,000 gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River. Eighty miles of the Kalamazoo River remain closed, even after 2.5B dollars have been spent on cleanup. Local residents had negative health impacts from the spill. The EPA says the only way to finish the cleanup would be to remove the river bottom for 80 miles. (Enbridge disaster)
- There are only 137 federal pipeline inspectors for 2.5 million miles of pipeline. Over 90% of all pipeline spills are discovered, not by government or industry inspectors, but by the general public. (PHMSA, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration).
- Bakken Shale crude is highly flammable, igniting the Lac-Megantic explosion that killed 47 people in Canada last year, as well as explosions that hurled fireballs high into the sky and caused evacuations in Aliceville, Alabama; Casselton, North Dakota, and Lynchburg, Virginia.
The Tuesday demonstration was organized by: New Paltz Climate Action Coalition; endorsed by Citizens for Local Power, Citizens Oppose Dirty Energy, and Protecting Our Waters.
Testimony Against Pilgrim Pipeline At Town Meetings
Kingston resident Betta Broad testified against the Pilgrim Pipeline at Kingston Common Council last night. Residents are expected to testify in Accord, NY at the Rochester Town Board meeting Thursday December 4th between 7 and 9 pm.
The increasingly organized pipeline opponents aim to stop what New Paltz Climate Action Coalition calls a “dangerous, polluting and climate-damaging pipeline” from ever becoming a fact on the ground.
Model Resolutions: 1. Model Resolution for towns directly in the path of Pilgrim.
- Model Resolution for towns NOT directly in the path of Pilgrim.
Near-future events: December 3rd – 18th 2014, include public Town Board meetings and a WORKSHOP for LANDOWNERS who may be approached by the Pilgrim Pipeline Corporation:
Photographs by: Jodiah Jacobs