By Rebecca Martin
VIEW: The city of Kingston’s memorializing resolution opposing the Pilgrim Pipeline.
As you probably read in the papers yesterday (Daily Freeman, 11/18/15), Pilgrim Pipeline, LLC has filed a ‘use and occupancy’ permit application in NY to construct the Pilgrim Pipeline. According to the papers, the pipeline would run under at least one of Kingston’s roads (as it follows the Thruway).
Because of which, the City of Kingston is an ‘Involved’ agency in SEQR, which means that Kingston will be able to have a voice in determining who is Lead Agency of this project.
This is now incredibly timely, as the Thruway Authority (TA) has sent out “Lead Agency” letters to all “Involved” agencies, which means that one has probably arrived by now at City Hall, and the City of Kingston will need to respond by DECEMBER 16th. What’s important to note here that during this process, municipalities must respond by this date. Having no response is a supportive nod “yes” to the one requesting Lead Agency status.
As you may recall in January of 2014, the City of Kingston unanimously passed a memorializing resolution #21 of 2015 ‘in support of the Kingston Conservation Advisory Council’s Recommendation to Oppose the Proposed Pilgrim Pipeline” that was sponsored by the Council’s Public Safety Committee and that passed unanimously.
Why is it important that city of Kingston right now decline the Thruway Authority as Lead Agency, and instead – request that the DEC take on that role instead? First, the proposal may in fact violate New York State Energy and Climate policies firmly in place. READ: Energy/Climate Programs: NY’s Climate and Energy Portfolio. Additionally, here are five points so clearly outlined by Jennifer Metztgar who resides in the Town of Rosedale, also an ‘Involved’ agency in the proposal. We changed the municipality to reflect our own.
1) More than 20 New York municipalities, including the City of Kingston, have passed resolutions (both memorializing and otherwise) of opposition to this project after concluding that the risks and costs to our communities far outweigh any potential benefits, and that the project contradicts local and State energy goals;
2) The proposed pipeline threatens important resources of statewide concern, including the Hudson River and major tributaries, such as the Rondout, Esopus, and Catskill Creeks and Wallkill River, State-regulated wetlands and other resources that the DEC is responsible for protecting and is best equipped to ensure a full and adequate evaluation of environmental impacts.
3) The DEC is one of the State agencies responsible for State efforts to mitigate climate change, and is best positioned to lead an evaluation of this project’s potential impacts on climate.
4) DEC, as the state environmental agency, is best suited to guide the environmental review of this large, multi jurisdictional project that has the potential to impact environmental resources in 6 New York counties and 29 towns, and is the agency with the power and the expertise to ensure a comprehensive and coordinated review,
5) The pipeline will traverse and impact private lands and resources outside of the Thruway right-of-way, including lands within the City of Kingston, and it is therefore more appropriate for the DEC than the Thruway to play the lead role in evaluating the impacts to those lands and resources.
Inside of Kingston, we’d like to thank Kingston’s elected and appointed officials for the hard work they have already put into the Pilgrim Pipeline issue inside our community. We are now faced with our first critical item – so to help support them, we are working on a direction for our community to speak in response to this initial request. It will come about swiftly, so please stay tuned to learn what you can do to in support a Kingston request the DEC be Lead Agency in SEQR on the Pilgrim Pipeline proposal.