The Williams Pipeline and the airing of grievances

pipeline hearingThis was my view of last night’s DEC hearing on the Williams Pipeline, held at the Bay Ridge Manor in Brooklyn.

Residents from New Jersey, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Rockaways, and beyond gathered to share their objections to the proposed pipeline that would carry fracked gas from Pennsylvania through New Jersey to the Rockaways via New York Harbor.

So, what’s so bad about that?

Fracking is extraordinarily dangerous, and New York state has banned the practice. Fracking leads to earthquakes in regions that don’t sit on fault lines, and which are therefore not naturally prone to earthquakes. It is shockingly common for pipelines to explode, killing or injuring people or necessitating evacuations. Leaks at fracking well sites, and along pipelines, pump methane into the atmosphere and contribute to climate change.

The proposed Williams pipeline comes along with all of those dangers—and more. The proposal indicates that the pipeline would be laid a few feet under the sea floor. To install the pipeline, construction crews would have to disturb what is already at the bottom of the sea floor, oysters, fish eggs, bottom dwellers, and bottom feeders. But those aren’t the only things sitting at the bottom of the sea floor. There are also a lot of toxins like arsenic, lead, and DDT—legacies of other catastrophic ecological mistakes New Yorkers have made over the past century. If crews lay the pipeline, these deadly toxins would be stirred back up into the water, threatening marine and human life. We have no way of knowing how long it would take for these toxins to once again settle onto the sea floor, but we do know that it can take a very long time.

Concerned citizens and green groups have raised these and other concerns too numerous for me to adequately do them justice. But if you’re interested in learning more about the dangers of the proposed Williams pipeline, you can connect with the Surfrider Foundation or Food and Water Watch.

Or you can attend the DEC’s next hearing about the pipeline, which will be held in the Rockaways at:

March 6, 2019 at 5 pm
Channel View School for Research
100 Beach Channel Drive
Rockaway, NY 11694 

If you cannot attend the hearing but wish to express your concern about the pipeline, you can send your remarks before March 15 at 5 pm:

By email: 

Or mail:

Karen Gaidasz
NYSDEC – Division of Environmental Permits
625 Broadway, 4th Floor
Albany, NY 12233-1750

There’s still time to block this dangerous pipeline. It’s a decision whose impact will reverberate for generations to come.

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