Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Protest Targets Oil Pipeline

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Protest Targets Oil Pipeline

Article excerpt

HACKENSACK - Protesters marched at the Bergen County Administration Building on Tuesday, seeking to halt a land survey being conducted for a potential oil pipeline that would cross a tract in Mahwah near an aquifer that provides drinking water to thousands of county residents.

With chants, signs and a petition with the signatures of 1,304 Bergen County residents, the group of 15 pipeline opponents sought the rescinding of a county permit for the survey. They had also asked to meet with County Executive James Tedesco, but he was at a funeral, according to County Administrator Dominic Novelli.

Contractors are surveying land in the 4,000-acre Ramapo Valley Reservation. The Connecticut-based Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings wants to build a two-way underground pipeline to transport crude oil 178 miles from Albany, N.Y., through some of New Jersey's most environmentally delicate sections to the Bayway Refinery in Linden.

The pipeline would move gasoline and heating oil back to New York after the refining process.

In a statement released Tuesday, Tedesco reiterated his administration's belief that rescinding the permit could cause Pilgrim to sue the county and blocking the process would deny the county any say in the future direction of the proposed pipeline.

Matt Smith, an organizer with the New Brunswick chapter of Food & Water Watch, which led the protest, said that, in a meeting last fall, Novelli had promised he would talk with Union County representatives, who had denied Pilgrim permission for a survey.

"They never got back to us," Smith said.

Safer than trains?

Novelli wrote in a March 10 letter to pipeline opposition that the state's open-space program, Green Acres, would "assume control" of the process if the county blocked the program.

Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, previously told The Record that it was too early to predict whether the agency would get involved. …

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