Archive for the tag 'JFK expansion'

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.

The Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline (CARP) writes:

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 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.

Pearson writes:

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?

Source: Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia Commons

On July 9, more than 700 Canada Geese were rounded up and killed at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Instead of dumping the dead geese into landfills, the meat from the birds was donated to food pantries and soup kitchens in New York.

Normally, the birds are gassed by carbon dioxide, making them unfit for eating. However, this year, officials decided to donate the meat to the needy. According to Carol Bannerman, a USDA Wildlife Services spokeswoman, goose meat is not an uncommon protein. In New York State, big game hunters donate their catch to those in need regularly.

Last year, the geese that were caught were donated to food charities in Pennsylvania.

Don Riepe was there the day the geese were culled.

“They did it as humanely as possible,” he said to Capital New York. “They rounded them up and put them in individual crates, like you transport any live product.”

After the geese were caught, they were taken to a meat processor in upstate New York on the same day.

The packaged wild goose meat was processed and labeled with a health advisory before it was sent out to shelters. The label stated that the New York State Department of Health recommended “no more than two meals of the wild geese per month because they may have been exposed to environmental contaminants.”

However, reps from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said that the meat was tested and posed no real concern to humans.

Others disagree. Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, believes that the meat from near the airport is not safe for consumption.

“When airplanes take off they spray jet fuel and when they land they release jet fuel,” he said. “So do they really want that type of meat?”

Jean Grassman, a Brooklyn College professor of Health and Nutrition Sciences, said an urban contaminant called polychlorinated biphenyl, or PCB, may be a real risk for people.

“The concern is that they’re developmental toxicants,” Grassman stated. “The issue of contamination is a real possibility in wild fowl.”

Further, there is another concern pertaining to contamination of the goose meat. According to Jeanne Wilcox at the Food Bank for Westchester, “There was a possibility that the meat had birdshot — a type of shotgun shell, which could contain lead… anyone eating the meat should keep an eye out for shells while cutting it.”

On the whole, food banks don’t seem too skeptical when receiving game meat donations.

Peter Braglia from Long Island Cares said, “People don’t understand wild game is so much more nutritious than what you can buy in the store. There’s no hormones given to these birds.”

CARP members collecting petitions at Riis Park.

We reported on Monday about the United States Senate giving the green light to H.R. 2606, clearing one of the last major hurdles to the installation of a natural gas pipeline underneath Jamaica Bay, complete with a metering station within the historic hangars at Floyd Bennett Field.

The plan’s opponents, the Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline, issued the following statement blasting the Senate’s decision and stating plans to take their case all the way up to President Barack Obama.

They write:

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.

Throughout the course of the entire situation, activists and residents have come forward to ensure that their opposition to the pipeline – which would run under the Atlantic Ocean, cutting through the Rockaways and into southeast Brooklyn - was heard.

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.

Activists have been collecting petition signatures against the pipeline at Riis Park in the Rockaways.

We’ve been covering the development and ramifications of the proposed Jamaica Bay Natural Gas Pipeline since this past April, and it seems that the New York Times has finally picked up on the story as well.

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.

Though the proposed installation of a natural gas pipeline beneath Jamaica Bay has sparked wide-ranging concerns from opponents – from environmental damage to the risk of a terrorist attack – a growing coalition of activists say its biggest threat is setting a precedent that would open up all national parks to industrial uses.

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.”

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The proposed placement of new natural gas pipelines from Williams and National Grid. (Source: Williams)

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.

http://www.nps.gov/gate/parkmgmt/index.htm

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.

http://www.nycaudubon.org/home/

The rally will be held at Jacob Riis Park, Queens, on August 4, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Source: djprybyl / Flickr

Two outdoor information sessions concerning the future of Gateway National Park will be held at Jacob Riis Park, Queens, on August 4 and August 10 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Two-day sessions will also be held in Sandy Hook, New Jersey, and Great Kills Park on Staten Island.

The information sessions are part of the Jamaica Bay Gateway Management Plan Comment Period, which began July 17 and runs through September 21, 2012. More open houses are planned for September.

To learn more, go here and here.

The proposed placement of new natural gas pipelines from Williams and National Grid. (Source: Williams)

The Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company (TRANSCO), recently issued a required document in which they addressed concerns about the proposed Rockaway Delivery Lateral Project, commonly known as the Jamaica Bay natural gas pipeline.

Those disturbed by the project, which involves the development of a natural gas pipeline through Jamiaca Bay and Floyd Bennett Field, submitted arguments opposing its approval through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) between May 25 and June 25. These concerns were reviewed by Transco, who responded to them in the government-mandated document on July 9.

Transco claims the Rockaway Lateral Project will provide a new channel for natural gas, increasing its use in residences in New York City. This is meant to help improve air quality by replacing the systems that use fuel oil to heat residences.

But a Sheepshead Bites review of comments submitted reveals that many local activists and individuals believe this project will produce more harm than good. Approximately 60 comments from individuals and organizations representing thousands of people were put forward during this brief scoping period, virtually unanimous in their opposition for reasons relating to safety, environmental risks and health.

In response, Transco replied to some concerns thoroughly, while others were glossed over or overlooked.

See our summary of the concerns and their responses, as well as a compilation of the original comments and Transco’s response in its entirety.

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