Friday, March 27th, 2015

The Morris County Freeholders have passed a resolution opposing the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline, citing safety and environmental concerns that the oil pipeline may pose to residents and communities in Morris County.

The Freeholders by a unanimous vote, called for an immediate moratorium on all planning, surveying or construction work on the proposed pipeline, which would carry crude oil and refined petroleum products between Albany, N.Y., and refineries in Linden, N.J

The proposed route would take it through Morris County, including the environmentally protected Highlands region and the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

The resolution calls for a “full environmental impact statement’’ to be conducted on the project by the state Department of Environmental Protection to assess potential environmental consequences.

“This pipeline project raises significant safety concerns for Morris County, including potential harm to our residents, schools, and municipal and county infrastructure,’’ said Freeholder Director Kathy DeFillippo. “We have heard the concerns raised by the towns and people of our county and, therefore, insist on a thorough and exhaustive study of any potential consequences of this pipeline before it gets any further consideration.’’

Freeholder John Krickus called into question the expertise of the firm slated to build the proposed pipeline.

“We do not have confidence that the company proposing to build this pipeline has the experience or proven track record to ensure a safe environment for our residents,’’ Krickus said.

“Through careful long term planning, Morris County is interwoven with open space and natural areas designed for the protection of the county’s water resources, which should not be endangered by this pipeline,’’ said Freeholder John Cesaro. “Morris County is highly dependent on groundwater sources for potable water, so the route of this pipeline and its potential negative impact are a source of grave concern to this freeholder board. As a freeholder board, we must always be vigilant to balance the needs and concerns of our taxpayers and economic growth and progress.”

  • All of Chatham Borough and Madison Borough are served by public water which comes from public wells within their boroughs. The wellhead protection areas for these municipal wells fall with the proposed pipeline route.
  • East Hanover and Montville are served by public wells within their community. Some of these their wellhead protection areas are within the proposed pipeline route.
  • The proposed route goes through the Buried Valley, Rockaway and Highlands sole source aquifers in Morris County.
  • The proposed route would cut through the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, which was established more than 50 years ago by the United States Department of Interior and offers protection to the headwater of the Passaic River.
  • The pipeline would cut through the heart of the Highlands Region created in 2004 by the legislature to protect against the depletion of water supply and quality for a supply that drinking water to 5.4 million New Jersey residents.

    To view a copy of the freeholders’ resolution opposing the pipeline’s construction, please visit https://morriscountynj.gov/freeholders/agendas/15-03-25-PipelineRes.pdf.