To: Joan McDonald, NYS Department of Transportation Commissioner, Howard P. Milstein, NYS Thruway Authority Chair, and Gregory G. Nadeau, Acting Federal Highway Administrator

Stop the Pilgrim Pipeline

We strongly urge NYS Thruway Authority Chair Howard Milstein, NYS Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald, and Federal Highway Acting Administrator Gregory Nadeau to reject any proposal by the Pilgrim Pipeline Company or other entities for construction of a crude oil pipeline in the NYS Thruway right-of-way. The proposed Pilgrim pipeline would carry fracked and volatile Bakken crude oil and flammable refined products made from Bakken crude oil between Albany, N.Y. and Linden, N.J. and pose unnecessary risks to the health, safety, and welfare of communities along the proposed pipeline path as well as to Thruway travelers.

Why is this important?

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a safety alert on Jan. 2, 2014, regarding the volatility of Bakken crude oil. According to PHMSA data, pipeline operators reported 1,880 crude oil pipeline incidents nationwide between 2003 and 2013 resulting in over 44,265,438 gallons of oil being spilled, fowling groundwater, surface water bodies, farmland and woodland, and resulting in over $2.5 billion in property damage. The majority of these spills were the result of corrosion, equipment failure, incorrect operation or material and weld failures. Only 5% of all cases were spills detected by leak detection equipment.

This pipeline will not replace rail and barge transport of crude oil in New York. Instead, it will increase the flow of crude oil in the State to refineries in New Jersey for production and export of refined petroleum products. Supporting long-term investment in fossil fuel infrastructure directly conflicts with New York State’s goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 to reduce the threat of the climate crisis to present and future generations.

The pipeline threatens the public interest of the citizens of New York, it's land and water resources including the Hudson River - which the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Council has identified as vital to regional economic development and prosperity, and should be strongly rejected.