The company seeking to run a gas pipeline under Floyd Bennett Field and build a meter and regulating station in a historic airplane hangar there commissioned a report that found a .2 percent chance the planned facility would be flooded, even amid rising sea levels.
The Williams Transco pipeline company’s report came in response to an April 4 letter from the New York Department of State seeking reassurance that the station couldn’t be breeched after the Federal Emergency Management Agency updated its flood maps, post-Hurricane Sandy.
“Infrastructure in general was severely impacted by Sandy and NYDOS would not be adequately addressing coastal policies if we did not try to ensure that new infrastructure projects were able to withstand coastal impacts, including flooding,” Laz Benitez, an NYDOS spokesman said in an email.
We’ve extensively covered the evolution of the proposed Jamaica Bay Pipeline, a project which would run a natural gas line through the Jamaica Bay wetlands, underneath Jacob Riis Park and ending at Floyd Bennett Field, where a meter and regulating station will be placed in a hangar, and connected to the National Grid infrastructure. While the legality of the pipeline is no longer in question, Williams Transco, the company looking to build the pipeline, must get the approval from the New York State Coastal Management Program (NYS CMP) before its application can be processed. The Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline (CARP) is imploring readers to submit comments before tomorrow to the NYS CMP to stop the project before it gets underway.
CARP published a list of its own comments that they are submitting to the NYS CMP, expressing their belief that the pipeline represents a dangerous hazard to both residents living near the areas it cuts through and to the environment. One particularly nasty comment submitted by CARP points to the potential radioactivity of the project.
The gas carried in the pipeline will be radioactive. Shale gas from the Marcellus has extremely high levels of radon, the second highest cause of lung cancer in the US.
The proposed placement of natural gas pipelines from Williams and National Grid. Source: Williams
According to the legislative calendar for the House of Representatives, H.R. 2606, better known as the New York City Natural Gas Supply Enhancement Act or the Jamaica Bay pipeline, is set to be voted on today. After the area where the pipeline will be installed was badly damaged due to Sandy, advocates against the pipeline warn that a major storm could happen again, and with the pipeline there the consequences could be far worse than ever before.
The proposed construction of this pipeline has been marred by dozens of protests and thousands of anti-pipeline petition signatures. Now that they’ve seen Sandy’s aftermath, advocates against the pipeline have added another reason not to ahead with construction to their list.
It’s complete insanity to build a high-pressure gas pipeline and metering station in an area that has just been destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, and will REGULARLY experience such events, or worse, in the decades to come. We don’t need this gas — we need to stop climate change and switch to renewables.
This bill permits construction of a gas pipeline in a national park – right next to a wildlife refuge that is home to a dozen endangered and threatened species; right under a public beach that is used by thousands of New Yorkers every year; and right by the largest community garden on the East Coast.
In the wake of the Hurricane Sandy stopping this bill is imperative. The bill authorizes construction of a high-pressure gas pipeline and metering station in an area that has just experienced major flooding and fire – and will do so again as the oceans rise because of climate change. Thousands of lives could be jeopardized in the event of another hurricane or storm surge.
They urge others to join them in their opposition of the pipeline by calling local congressmembers Tuesday morning and telling them to vote “no” on H.R. 2606.
You can find your congressperson’s Washington number by going here.
The Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline (CARP) delivered petitions with 5,000 signatures to Senator Charles Schumer’s Manhattan office Tuesday as members of the environmental group push for a presidential veto of the project.
“It is too late to the stop the bill from being passed. It’s not too late to show opposition to the project,” said Jonathan Fluck, CARP’s spokesperson.
The proposed Jamaica Bay pipeline would connect an existing natural gas pipeline three miles offshore with Southern Brooklyn. The pipeline would tunnel under Jacob Riis Park, cross Jamaica Bay and surface at Floyd Bennett Field. Williams Company, which is constructing the pipeline, plans to establish a metering station within a vacant hanger at the historic airfield.
The proposed placement of new natural gas pipelines from Williams and National Grid. Source: Williams
Opponents of the proposed Jamaica Bay gas pipeline have crafted another petition to showcase their disdain for the plans, following the U.S. Senate’s approval of the pipeline proposal.
Barbara Pearson, a Floyd Bennett Field Gardens Association member, helped write the petition, which she hopes will convince President Barack Obama to veto H.R. 2606, the legislation that will authorize industrial use of Floyd Bennett Field and appropriate part of the park to Williams Companies and National Grid.
Please sign my petition asking President Obama to veto HR 2606 – you will be asked to create an account on whitehouse.gov in order to sign this petition but it is extremely easy and they will email you a link that takes you right back to the petition once your account has been created. We need 150 signatures for the petition to be viewable on whitehouse.gov. If we get 25,000 signatures, the Obama administration says it will respond to the petition, so please forward this link far and wide.
Pearson joins a long list of advocates who oppose the pipeline, such as the Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline (CARP). According to CARP, if the pipeline is allowed to course through part of the Rockaways and potentially create environmental hazards, it would create a precedent by which future pipeline projects would be able to operate in other federally-funded parklands for similar projects.
An excerpt from the petition states:
In addition, we feel the risk this legislation poses to ALL national parks being given over to inappropriate uses cannot be overstated when one considers that NPS is increasingly motivated to solve its maintenance backlog by entering into private “partnerships” as a source of financing. In fact, the “rehabilitation” of the hangars at Floyd Bennett Field at no cost to NPS is openly cited as a reason this inappropriate use will be implemented if H.R. 2606 becomes law.
Let your view be known – to pipeline or not to pipeline?
The Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline (CARP) is outraged that both houses of Congress have now quietly approved legislation to permit a natural-gas pipeline and a metering-and-regulation facility to be built in Gateway National Recreation Area in Brooklyn and Queens. H.R. 2606, which alters a 1972 law that has long protected the federal park from any uses other than recreation or conservation, was passed by the U.S. Senate on Sept. 21st without adequate public review. The alienation of a piece of Gateway, historic hangars in Floyd Bennett Field for industrial use, has never been properly addressed by legislators or the National Park Service and the public has been consistently left out of the democratic and decision-making process.
In less than two months, CARP has collected 5000 signatures against this legislation, the greatest bulk from beach goers, families and park users, who were both unaware of and unsupportive of this use the park. 9 million people use Gateway National Recreation Area, one of America’s most used and oldest urban national parks in the densest urban environment in the country.
CARP will continue to fight this misuse of Floyd Bennett Field, which features historic aircraft hangars, heavily used recreation facilities, hiking trails, camping and one of New York State’s oldest and largest community gardens and the Jamaica Bay Unit, home to popular beach and waterfront areas and the only wildlife refuge accessable by subway and bus. We will appeal to President Obama, whose Great Outdoors initiative promotes connecting Americans with the outdoors and partnering with local stakeholders to best gauge the needs of the community. We will ask Obama to veto this bill because it does not represent a government that is transparant, collaborative and participatory.
The Jamaica Bay Natural Gas Pipeline is nearly a done deal. Legislation permitting the construction of the pipeline has passed the U.S. Senate, removing one of the last major roadblocks to its construction.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg released this statement following the news that the H.R.2606 plan will move forward:
The legislation passed this morning in the U.S. Senate is not just about the construction and operation of a natural gas pipeline and the jobs it will create – it is critical to building a stable, clean-energy future for New York City and improving the health of all New Yorkers. I want to thank Senator Schumer who sponsored this important legislation as well as Senators Bingaman and Murkowski who helped make passage possible. I would also like to acknowledge the important role of the National Park Service in this process and look forward to the members of the House re-passing this bill when they return in November.
In previous articles, we’ve noted how clandestine the whole operation has been, and it seems the same can be said of the news that it is happening.
The $265 million project was endorsed by the Bloomberg Administration as a means of creating jobs and clean energy.
The bill will go back to the House when the legislative session resumes in November for approval of any changes. The final hurdle will be cleared once the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which reviews and authorizes natural gas pipelines, greenlights the project.
The Times’ Stuart Miller summarizes the history of the pipeline’s almost clandestine construction and development process. The deal for the pipeline, which would run under the Atlantic Ocean, then cutting through the Rockaways into southeast Brooklyn, has met stiff opposition from both environmentalists and residents residing near its zones of impact.
The major concerns against the pipeline’s construction, covered here and in the times, highlight the fear of explosions, fires, and health risks in densely populated areas, and the potential damage to the fragile ecosystems of Jamaica Bay, Brooklyn’s largest national parkland. The proposal to use Floyd Bennett Field’s historic hangars has raised concerns that it will open all national parks for industrial uses. Transco Williams, the firm put in charge of this development, has had a spotty safety record in recent years having suffered explosions in pipelines across the country.
The $265 million dollar project was pushed through and endorsed by the Bloomberg administration, in an effort to promote cleaner energy alternatives to oil, bring in $8 million dollars annually in property taxes, and create jobs.
A group of local activists calling themselves Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline (CARP) gathered at Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways on Saturday, spreading the word about the proposed pipeline and gathering petition signatures from beach-goers in an effort to stop H.R. 2606 – federal legislation that would authorize work in the park. Under a banner that read “Keep the gas industry out of our National Park” and “Kill the Bill, Protect Your Park,” CARP representatives touted the list of local and national groups that are coming together to battle the plans: the Brooklyn Green Party, SANE Energy, United for Action, Brooklyn for Peace, Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn and, they say, many more signing on every day.
Though the individuals at the Saturday rally were all locals – mostly from Marine Park – their concerns have national implications, they say.
“Having a pipeline and metering station going through a national park is absurd,” said Karen Mascolo, a CARP member who also works at the Floyd Bennett Gardens Association. “If you let industry come in, you’re opening up the door to allow industry into any national park.”