TIMELY ACTION: Please attend the next Kingston Common Council meeting on Tuesday, December 1st at 7:30pm and sign-up to speak in support of the City of Kingston passing a resolution that rejects the Thruway Authority’s request to be Lead Agency in SEQR for the Pilgrim Pipeline proposal and, that the DEC take on the role of Lead Agency instead.
VIEW Facebook Invitation
By Rebecca Martin
On November 16, 2015, municipalities in NYS that are ‘Involved’ agencies in the Pilgrim Pipeline SEQR process were informed by the Thruway Authority (by letter) requesting to be Lead Agency. With only the allowed 30 day window to respond (which, in this case, would be December 16th, 2015) – hardly any time at all – municipalities are forced to have to act swiftly. At this early stage, all appear to be in agreement that the Thruway Authority should not be leading the environmental review process and that instead, the DEC should take on that role.
Why is the DEC the better choice for Lead Agency of a proposal such as the Pilgrim Pipeline?
- The proposed pipelines threaten numerous resources of state-wide concern within the DEC’s jurisdiction, including the Hudson River and such important tributaries as the Rondout, Esopus, and Catskill Creeks and Wallkill River, State-regulated wetlands, the Karst Aquifer Region (a priority project designated in the NYS Open Space Conservation Plan), and other resources that the DEC is responsible for protecting.
- NYS 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 six New York counties and 29 towns, and is the agency with the power and the expertise to ensure a comprehensive and coordinated review.
- NYS DEC has statewide responsibility for mitigating climate change and helping to ensure that New York will meet the targets set in the 2015 New York State Energy Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050 below 1990 emissions levels. The Commissioner’s Policy mandates that DEC must consider climate change in all its actions, including permitting. This proposed project to construct the first crude oil pipeline in New York must be evaluated within the context of the Energy Plan and state energy objectives, and the DEC is best positioned to ensure the comprehensive evaluation that is needed.
- The two pipelines will traverse and impact private lands and resources both inside and outside of the New York Thruway right-of-way, and the evaluation of those impacts should therefore be led by an agency independent of the Thruway Authority, particularly given that the Thruway Authority has a potential financial interest in this project owing to any revenues that could be collected for use of the right-of-way.
I am pleased to report that Kingston took immediate steps upon learning of the Thruway Authority’s intent, and tonight the Public Safety Committee passed through a resolution created by Kingston’s Conservation Advisory Council requesting that they refuse the Thruway Authority’s request, and press that the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) take on the role instead.
The resolution will now come up in front of Kingston’s Common Council to vote on TUESDAY, December 1st at 7:30pm. This is a great opportunity for the public to speak during public comment, to urge that the resolution pass and that a notice to all necessary parties be sent ASAP and prior to the December 16th “Lead Agency” request deadline.
For more information on this, please read:
1. Letter from CAC president Julie Noble
2. Draft Resolution Presented to Kingston Public Safety Committee
3. Kingston’s Role as Involved Agency in SEQR and the Pilgrim Pipeline.
4. KingstonCitizens.org SEQR Glossary Definitions
VIEW Tonight’s Discussion on the Pilgrim Pipeline Lead Agency in SEQR:
Begins at 1:13 and ends at 22:00.