Two weeks ago I attended a local Sierra Club meeting as follow up to the People’s Climate March. The meeting covered a range of topics from the actual attendance of the march (in the 400,000s), to affordable solar panel options like Solar City, and the governor of our fine states decision to remove us from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Of all the issues discussed, the discussion of the proposal for the construction of a pipeline to transport oil through my state really struck me.
The pipeline, which is being proposed by the Pilgrim Pipeline Company, will connect from Albany, New York to Linden, New Jersey. The pipeline will be bi-directional and transport oil and refined petroleum products. The oil, which was extracted by fracking, is originally from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal comparing oil from 86 locations around the world, Bakken is the most explosive.
Pipelines in the United States are not adequately monitored. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration currently only has 135 inspectors to survey 2.5 million miles of pipeline!
Though the company has not released a detailed map of where the pipeline will be exactly placed, it is expected to follow routes 87 in NY and 287 in NJ. The pipeline would go through the New Jersey Highlands, which is responsible for providing drinking water to half of New Jersey residents! Any leak or accident could be disastrous to the state!
Construction will also affect wetlands and degrade waterways.
So what is the average citizen supposed to do stop the pipeline from being built?
-Since the plan for the pipeline is yet to be finalized citizens who live where the pipeline is being proposed can currently refuse to have their land surveyed. Areas that will be directed effected in New Jersey include: Mahwah, Franklin Lakes, Oakland, Wanaque, Pompton Lakes, Bloomingdale, Riverdale, Pequannock, Watchung, and Scotch Plains, to name a few.
-Being vocal to your local and state representatives is important. Don’t wait for the pipeline to official to try and take action, nip it in the bud!
-Encourage your community to invest in clean energy sources like solar and wind power.