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Overview | Events | Background (Spill data) | Action

This page is specifically for the pipeline route in Union and Middlesex county with some general information on the project.
See the Coalition to Stop Pilgrim Pipeline (CAPP) | for information on all 5 counties in New Jersey.

For a meeting near you see events below.
See also news below

Pilgrim Pipeline LLC has proposed a $1 Billion 178-mile pipeline from northern New Jersey to Albany. A dual set of 16 and 18 inch pipelines would carry corrosive, volatile Bakken crude oil to refineries in Linden NJ and return refined petroleum products to Albany.
The Sierra Club has joined with over fourty organizations to oppose this project.

At an October, 2014 public hearing George Bochis, vice president of development for Pilgrim, estimated that the permitting process would take 12 to 16 months and, if approved, construction might take another year. It will probably be 2018 before it is finished.

North Dakotan Bakken shale oil is produced through fracking; It is one of the most explosive types of oil in the world. It is also corrosive.

Crude is a nasty material, very destructive when it spills into the environment, and very toxic when it contacts humans or animals.

The number of pipeline incidents (spills [5 gal or more], explosion or fire, personal injury requiring hospitalization or death, property damage of $50,000 or more) in the U.S. has ranged from 339 in 1999 to 721 in 2005. Source: Fraser Institute

See Why Not? at the Coalition to Stop Pilgrim Pipeline (CAPP) |

Join the PilgrimPipeline Google Group for discussions on the Pipeline

The project is expected to follow along Route 287 through Mahwah and Oakland in Bergen County and continue through Wanaque, Pompton Lakes and Bloomingdale in Passaic County. It would also enter Morris County, including through Riverdale and Pequannock, and then cut across Watchung, Scotch Plains, and other communities before heading east toward Linden.

The company predicts that about 96 percent of the proposed route would go through "existing right-of-ways" -- pieces of land where pipeline infrastructure already sits.

Route in Middlesex and Union Counties.
pilgrim pipeline map, route, Linden, port reading, rahway river, woodbridge river, wildlife sanctuary, Ash swamp, Ash Brook Reservation,Oak Ridge Park, woodbridge center, colonial village,  Conrail line Edison, Woodbridge, Scotch Plains, Middlesex County, Union County, New Jersey, JFK Medical Center

Maps at
Click for larger version   Zoom Out   Google Map
terrill school

The northern section to Linden will carry crude oil to Linden and the southern section to Carteret will carry refined oil back to Albany.

Walter R. Stochel Jr. provided the following description based on the map above.

The combined pipes heads north-west following the PSEG electric corridor from the Edison/Clark border thru Scotch Plains, where it goes within 100 yards of the Terrill Middle School.
Note: On Dec 1 PSE&G denied access to this right-of-way.

The southern branch to Port Reading will follow the Spectra Gas line right-of-way in Edison.
It follows the PSEG right of way passing Oak Crest Swim Club. Then continuing south through most of North Edison's residential neighborhoods. Passing near James Madison School, and JP Stevens High School. Then the pipe passes adjacent to JFK Medical Center.

The northern branch cuts off at Ash Swamp, part of Ash Brook Reservation, and Oak Ridge Park in Union County and follows the Conrail line and power lines thru the heart of the Ash Swamp,toward Linden.

Surface Water Quality Overview maps

Events | Coalition to Stop Pilgrim Pipeline (CAPP)
See also news below

Why Is Local Action So Important? (

Property Access:
Pilgrim representatives have been telling property owners that they have the right to access their property to conduct tests and surveys.

Pilgrim's law firm DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick & Cole has sent letters to homeowners who refused access asking them to "reconsider" and claiming if they don't Pilgrim will have no choice but to get a court order allowing them access.

NJ Sierra Club Director, Jeff Tittle, pointed out that Pilgrim is a private company not a public utility, so has no eminent domain authority.

The Eastern Environmental Law Center (EELC), on behalf of the NJ Sierra Club, sent a letter to Pilgrim's attorneys, to cease and desist making false claims to property owners.
See Sierra Club: Pipeline company 'intimidating' property owners with false threats |

Pilgrim states:
"The Northeast region of the United States remains one of the only major population areas in the country not served by a direct pipeline connection for delivery of refined products from refining centers to consumers, including gasoline and home heating oil. As a result, the region relies largely on river barges, leaving it susceptible to severe weather events such as Hurricane Sandy."

The facts:
Following Hurricane Sandy, Hess and Phillips 66 were closed for over 9 days and therefore unable to refine oil. Some have speculated that the real motivation is to provide access to ports for exporting petroleum products.


Pipeline systems in the United States are chronically under regulated. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) only has 135 inspectors to oversee 2.6 million miles of pipeline. PHMSA or its state partners have inspected only one fifth of that pipeline system since 2006.

See Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration |

See Arkansas Oil Spill Sheds Light On Aging Pipeline System : NPR 2013

There is conflicting data on the risk of pipelines vs other forms of transport.
George Bochis, vice president of development for Pilgrim, has told the Star-Ledger that the risk for spills from barges "is almost seven times greater than that of pipelines,"
Others point to the fact that pipelines have more incidents with more spillage. Pipelines carry 3 times the volume of barges but have 4 times the number of spills.
They are comparing apples and oranges.

1998-2007 Oil Spills (% = Percent of all oil transported)
Type % Av. BBL
per yr.
BBL per
Billion BBL Miles
Av. Number
of spills/yr
Pipeline 70% 76,754 BBL 135 195
Tank barge 23% 5,429 BBL 35 54
Tanker truck 4% 9,181 BBL 270
Rail 3% 1,431 BBL 67
BBL = Barrel = 42 gallons
Intermodal safety in the transport of oil | The Fraser Institute, 2013
"Analysis of U.S. Oil Spillage" | American Petroleum Institute (, 2009
Pick Your Poison For Crude -- Pipeline, Rail, Truck Or Boat | Forbes

Pipeline spillage amount dropped 35% from the previous decade (1988-1997) even though there were more spills, 195 vs 140.

In addition to the dangers of the completed pipeline, construction will disrupt sensitive aquifers in the NJ Highlands and Ramapo River aquifer; in addition to crossing numerous streams along the route. Livingston gets much of its water from artesian wells which are also at risk.

See The Danger | Jersey City NO Gas Pipeline ( Durham woods explosion

In 1994 a 36-inch diameter natural gas pipeline broke and exploded into flames next to the Durham Woods apartment complex along New Durham Road at its junction with Interstate 287 in Edison.
The cause of this breakage was given by the NTSB as mechanical damage. The resulting fire destroyed or severely damaged 14 of the apartment buildings. Over 1,500 apartment residents were evacuated, 100 residents were left homeless, and one death occurred from a heart attack.
The Pilgrim Pipeline route goes right by Colonial Village and other apartment complexes along Rt 27 in Edison in addition to numerous residential neighborhoods along the route. See:
The Durham Woods Explosion: 20 Years Later - YouTube
Another video

As of May 2014, 27 out of the 28 New Jersey towns that would be directly affected by the line have taken formal stands against the proposal, many saying the line would be dangerous to the environment and the well-being of their communities.four municipalities have past ordinances opposing the pipeline.
Edison is the only exception, taking no action.
See a list of towns which have passed resolutions at

In June the NJ Senate passed a non-binding resolution opposing the pipeline.

None of these resolutions can legally stop the pipeline.
The US Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the NJ Board of Public Utilities (BPU) have the authority to approve it.

It is not clear what other regulations apply. It comes down to state siting laws and New Jersey does not have one. DEP will have to permit in regulated areas.
However, Municipal oversight is not pre-empted by federal regulations for oil pipelines as it is for natural gas lines.

Why Is Local Action So Important? (

Schools near the pipeline:
Hillside Avenue School, Cranford
Roselle Catholic High School, Roselle
Terrill Middle School, Scotch Plains
James Madison Primary School, Edison

June 29, 2015 - A Bipartisan Senate Resolution Opposing the Current Route of Pipeline is passed and heads to the Assembly.
June, 2015 PSE&G has not yet granted Pilgrim permission to use their right-of way.
See Pilgrim Pipeline, PSE&G: We're still in talks on needed land |
Nov 25, 2014 Woodbridge passed a resolution against the Pilgrim Pipeline.
PilgrimPipeline Google Group
Coalition to Stop Pilgrim Pipeline (CAPP) |
Northjersey Pipeline Walkers | Facebook
Sierra Club power point presentation
Pipeline Safety Coalition
The Downside of the Boom - Fracking for Bakken in ND -
NY-NJ Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipeline | Facebook
The Danger | Spectra Pipeline thru Jersey City at
Pilgrim Pipeline: Help Prevent More Fracked Oil in NJ | New Jersey Chapter - Sierra Club
Pilgrim Pipeline Potentially Affecting Mahwah to Present Plans to Public Oct. 21 | Mahwah, NJ Patch
Oil pipeline proposed in North Jersey through Highlands - News -
Forbes: comparing crude delivery by pipeline, rail, truck and boat | The Benicia Independent, 2014
Pick Your Poison For Crude -- Pipeline, Rail, Truck Or Boat | Forbes
Proposed pipeline project along Thruway raises questions from Rosendale town officials |
Pipeline Map |
Significant Pipeline Incidents | Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA): Stakeholder Communications

Myths and Facts About the Pilgrim Pipeline - Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings, LLC
Project Description - Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings, LLC (The Sierra Club does not agree with the rational at this site.)

Updated July. 10, 2015