New Divestment Campaign: Pilgrim Pipelines and Ares
The Village of New Paltz and the Town of Rosendale, both in Ulster County, have asked New York State to divest the Pilgrim Pipelines from the state pension fund.
The campaign to divest from the proposed Pilgrim oil pipelines centers on Ares Management. The Ares EIF Management V account provides the funding for Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings LLC, a Connecticut-based corporation whose principals are both former Koch Industries executives, to move forward with its work — including heavy lobbying in six New York counties and aggressive landman tactics in at least five counties — to get permits for their proposed pipelines while setting the stage for eminent domain taking of private property.
About 95 miles of the pipelines’ proposed route would be along the New York State Thruway, I-87, while about 25 miles of the pipelines’ route in New York State would go through private property.
The Town of Rosendale passed its resolution last week. The Tuesday June 7th Daily Freeman quoted Rosendale Councilwoman Jen Metzger describing their rationale for the action. Metzger said the Ares EIF Management V account should not be part of a taxpayer-funded portfolio:
“The state Comptroller has exercised his authority in the past in an effort to ensure that the practices of companies benefiting from State pension fund investments are more consistent with the public interest,” she said.
“Comptroller (Thomas) DiNapoli has been particularly vocal about climate and environmental issues,” Metzger said. “We wanted to put the Pilgrim pipelines project on his radar and urge him to take a hard look at funds being used to back a crude oil pipeline project that a number of municipalities participating in the state retirement system have formally opposed. This project directly contradicts state clean energy goals and puts our local communities and resources at unnecessary risk.”
Pilgrim’s two proposed pipelines would be drilled under the Hudson River twice and would be drilled under or through 232 other waterways, threatening drinking water for millions. As proposed, the southbound pipeline would carry 200,000 barrels per day of Bakken Shale crude oil, requiring a fivefold increase in the number of oil “bomb trains” coming into Albany every day to service the pipelines, which would run between Albany and Linden, New Jersey. The northbound pipeline would carry refined petroleum products including gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and kerosene. The flow of the northbound pipeline could be reversed, and the type of fuel carried in each pipeline changed, after permitting and construction.
Pilgrim has no known contracts with refineries in the Linden area, leading to speculation that the pipelines could be used primarily for export, whether from the beginning or later. It became legal to export U.S. – produced crude oil last fall thanks to intense lobbying by the Koch Brothers, among other major players.