New Jersey Hills Media Group

Pilgrim Pipeline Critics Plan Fundraiser Thursday, July 14, In Chatham

Benefit at brewing company to help fund independent environmental review

New Jersey Hills Media Group — July 11, 2016

From the Madison Eagle

A grassroots group, Chatham Citizens Opposing the Oil Pipeline, has joined a larger effort to fund an independent environmental review of Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings LLC's plans to build two major oil pipelines through local neighborhoods and such critical areas as the environmentally sensitive Highlands region, the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, the Buried Valley Aquifer and other aquifers that are the primary source of drinking water in Morris County.

Chatham Citizens Opposing the Oil Pipeline, whose activism has sparked formal opposition to the pipeline's construction by the Chatham Borough Council, the Chatham Township Committee, the Florham Park Borough Council, the Madison Borough Council and other municipal governments, will host a fund-raising event from 7 to 9 p.m. this coming Thursday, July 14, at the Twin Elephant Brewing Company at 13 Watchung Ave., just off River Road, in Chatham. The newly-opened Twin Elephant brews high-quality, handcrafted ales and lager — significantly, using water from the pristine Buried Valley Aquifer that serves Chatham and neighboring communities. The event is open to the public.

Independent Review

Funds raised at the event will help pay the $30,000 cost of an independent environmental review being undertaken by Princeton Hydro, an environmental engineering firm.

Brendan Keating, chairman of Chatham Citizens Opposing the Oil Pipeline, called an independent environmental review a necessity. If such a review is not conducted, Keating warned, New Jersey State officials would have little choice but to accept Pilgrim's own review at face value.

"We are now at a crucial moment in our opposition to Pilgrim's plans," said Keating. "By supporting an independent environmental review of the massive and dangerous project, everyone in Chatham can do something to help protect our water supplies, our neighborhoods and our homes."

Cindy DeRama, a co-owner of the Twin Elephant Brewing Company said, "We're fortunate to live in a region known for its clean and plentiful water, which is naturally an essential ingredient in the fresh and unique local beers we're creating."

Admission to the event this coming Thursday, July 14, at the Twin Elephant Brewing Company is $40, which includes a taster flight of Twin Elephant's beer, an additional pint, and light hors d'oeuvres. Tickets can be purchased online at https://greatswamp.ejoinme.org/twinelephant, or in person at the event.

Questions about the event can be directed to contact@chathamcitizens.com or (917) 596-7807.

For information about the proposed pipeline, Chatham Citizens Opposing the Oil Pipeline encourages the public to visit www.stoppilgrimpipeline.com.

Coalition

The fund-raising effort joins the multi-faceted work of the Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipeline (CAPP) and the New Jersey Sierra Club to oppose the oil pipeline. The CAPP numbers more than 70 member organizations, including Greenfaith, the New Jersey Highlands Coalition, the League of Conservation Voters, New Jersey Citizen Action, and the New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club.

Matt Smith, an organizer of Food and Water Watch in New Jersey and an active participant in the coalition said, "The proposal to build two large oil pipelines through major water supply areas and residential communities in New Jersey benefits only a small group of out-of-state private executives, leaving New Jersey families and local first responders to bear all the risk."

Sally Rubin, Executive Director of the Great Swamp Watershed Association, which also supports funding an independent environmental review said, "The pipeline could pass through and along many environmentally sensitive areas in New Jersey, including both the Highlands and the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. An underground leak would not only affect the wildlife in these areas, but also pollute groundwater and people's drinking water supplies."

While the Chatham Township Committee, the Chatham Borough Council, the Florham Park Borough Council, the Madison Borough Council and other municipal governments passed resolutions opposing unregulated pipelines in 2015, Keating said specific additional steps, such as an independent environmental review, are considered vital.

Florham 'Summit'

Last December, Florham Park Mayor Mark Taylor hosted a "summit" of representatives of 12 towns opposed to the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline construction project, aimed at coalition-building.

The towns that sent representatives to the summit had all indicated opposition to the proposed 178-mile pipeline, Taylor noted. Representatives came from Florham Park, Chatham, Chatham Township, Madison, Long Hill Township, Fanwood, Watchung, Parsippany, Livingston, Montville Township, and as far away as Mahwah Township and Oakland.

The meeting was held to "allow mayors to come together and get acquainted with each of the towns that are in the area of the proposed pipeline," Taylor explained. "The objective is to get information to all 35 communities that are part of the area shown as the pipeline path."

The proposed pipeline would transport up to 200,000 gallons of Bakken crude oil from a regional hub in Albany, N.Y., to a refinery in Linden, with a second line to carry refined products back in the other direction. Critics argue its route would take the pipeline through environmentally sensitive areas that include primary sources of drinking water. The pipeline would pass through more than 30 municipalities in New Jersey, including the Chathams and Florham Park.

Elected officials, including the Morris County Freeholders and state Assembly members Mila Jasey and John McKeon, both D-Morris/Essex, also have expressed their opposition to the proposed project. Jasey and McKeon represent Chatham Township, Florham Park and Madison in the 27th Legislative District.

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