It’s no secret that many locals are riled up about the plan to allow National Grid and the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company (TRANSCO) to install a natural gas pipeline beneath the nation’s oldest – and one of its largest – urban national parks.
In a one-month period, the project racked up 60 comments to the federal agency tasked with approving the project – all opposed. And, as soon as the plans became public, neighbors were outraged at local congressional leaders pushing the plan, as well as the National Parks Service for failing to seek community input.
The plan is to connect a primary natural gas artery in the Atlantic, just off the coast of the Rockaways, to a National Grid hub in Brooklyn. The pipe will go under the Rockaways, across the Rockaway inlet and underneath Floyd Bennett Field. There, Transco Williams will install a gas metering station in the two currently-unused hangars off Flatbush Avenue, which will be monitored remotely from their Texas headquarters. The line will then continue up Flatbush Avenue and into National Grid’s main system.
Though it appears the companies and government have been developing the project clandestinely for years, the public revelation of the proposal is spurring on activists who want to see it stopped for environmental and safety reasons – and also because it flies in the face of a new management agreement between the federal government and New York City meant to revitalize the park, capitalize on its resources and increase access to the public.
Those opponents have scheduled a rally on Saturday at Jacob Riis Park, slated to coincide with the city and fed’s open house session about the new General Management Plan for Jamaica Bay’s overhaul.
Activist Karen Orlando, who is also a gardener at Floyd Bennett Gardens Association and blogger at Outside Now, wrote to us about the protest:
It’s the beginning of a movement to stop the pipeline through Gateway and sale of our park to the Natural Gas Industry. NYC Audubon has put up a petition and a call for citizens to come down to Jacob Riis this weekend to participate in Gateway’s General Management Plan information sessions. We are a few years into the process and the GMP will be the guiding document for the park’s future.
There is a coalition that has just formed. It has come out of one of the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee’s Environmental Impact Statement meetings. Anti-frackers/pipeliners are joining forces with a motley crew of others (me included). We are looking to get people down on the beach this weekend to participate/protest.
We want a lot of people to come down to the beach to let their voices carry about NPS testifying for the bill that will put a pipeline and industrial facilities in this park.
NYC Audubon is also calling for people to come on down. They have a petition on their site. (Also a pretty good writeup about the GMP and their appeal for NPS to prioritize wildlife).
Don’t know how many people will show up. But there will definitely be a few. And we have a sign.
The rally will be held at Jacob Riis Park, Queens, on August 4, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.