BETHLEHEM — Less than three months after voicing its opposition to a new natural gas line through town, the Bethlehem Town Board is preparing to do the same over two proposed oil pipelines.
Pilgrim Transportation of NY has plans to snake two 24-inch pipelines through the Town of Bethlehem, much of which would run parallel to the New York state Thruway. The two lines would originate at the Port of Albany, cross the Hudson River into Rensselaer County before crossing back to the western shores of the river near the mouth of the Normanskill. From there, the pipelines are to zig-zag through Kenwood (not Kenwood Avenue), Glenmont and South Bethlehem towards the Thruway corridor.
Each pipeline is reported to have the capacity to transport 8.4 million gallons of petroleum a day. One line would carry crude oil from the Port of Albany to refineries out of state. Refined oil products would return to the Capital District through the second pipeline.
The Bethlehem Town Board is scheduled to discuss the issue when it meets Wednesday, May 11.
The proposed pipelines stand to benefit the region as plans suggest they will decrease oil train traffic, reduce barge traffic along the Hudson River, deliver refined oil products and bring energy stability to the Northeast.
Oil train traffic has been a topic of contention over the past year, in particular with housing along NYS Route 144, as well as more rural areas where train traffic continues to travel through the center of town. Albany County Executive Dan McCoy has continuously pushed for tougher regulations on railways transporting oil.
However, Bethlehem’s Town Board is specifically concerned with how the planned oil lines will impact local landowners. Town Councilman David VanLueven said he is not convinced the pipelines will reduce train and barge traffic.
The Town Board passed a resolution against the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline in March. The board’s action did not prevent the pipeline. However, Kinder Morgan announced last month it had suspended its plans due to “inadequate capacity commitments from prospective customers.” The resolution would have played an opposing factor in the event eminent domain was considered.