Residents Approached To Sell Easements For Pipeline Project
By Mark Gerlach
Reports have circulated in recent weeks of residents being approached by Pilgrim Pipeline representatives propositioning them with contracts for their easements.
The Pilgrim Pipeline project includes two parallel pipes proposed to run underground from Linden, N.J. to Albany. The pipeline route would travel along the New York State Thruway, and the pipes would transport crude oil, gasoline, diesel, kerosene and home heating oil.
Chris Maciel, 75, has lived on Riley Road in New Windsor with her husband, Bill, since 1978. About three years ago, in 2013, a “casually-dressed” man interested in an easement on Maciel’s property popped up, she said. She was informed that the property, if sold, would be used for a pipeline running up to Albany along the Thruway. However, she wasn’t informed that the pipeline would be used for oil, she said.
Land agents came back about three more times in 2014, 2015 and this year. Maciel was given a contract and offered $11,000 for the easement. She turned the offer down. She was then offered $16,000. Again, fearing her property would lose value in the deal, she declined the money.
“Knowing the problems with oil, it seemed to be a dangerous thing,” Maciel said. “People think that if they give you money it takes care of anything, but it doesn’t.”
The representative was disappointed, Maciel said. He wanted her to change her mind. The man said the decision could result in court action possibly being sought for an eminent domain judgment, where private property can be taken for public use, Maciel said.
Maciel felt slightly strong armed by the comment, she said. She did acknowledge, however, that the representative was “doing his job.”
Pilgrim Pipeline does have contractors out soliciting easements, Paul Nathanson, Pilgrim Pipeline spokesperson, said. There are more than 1,000 easements the company is eyeing on the entire pipeline route, said Nathanson.
The easements could be used for temporary work spaces to house trucks, part of the pipeline or other equipment, he said.
For the complete story read the Friday, March 18 edition of The Sentinel.