The time to chime in on the Williams pipeline is now. The last day to submit comments to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation is Friday, March 15 at 5 p.m.
Last Wednesday, March 6, the DEC held a public hearing for people to express their thoughts on the latest proposed Williams natural gas pipeline. According to Williams, the company is developing the “Northeast Supply Enhancement project to expand the existing Transco natural gas pipeline system by the 2020 winter heating season to provide important gas supply that will help the City reach its clean air goals.” However there is staunch opposition against the 23-mile pipeline that would stretch from New Jersey to the waters off of Rockaway, and they made it clear at the hearing held at the Beach Channel Educational Campus last week.
Despite the inconvenient meeting time of 5 p.m., which many pointed out as a time that people are traveling home from work, there was a strong showing of people on both sides of the issue, but a majority showed opposition. A coalition of environmental groups such as Sane Energy Project, Surfrider and Food & Water Watch, along with residents from across the peninsula, who believe the pipeline poses a threat against the area and local marine life, showed up to battle it out with those who support the project and believe it is necessary to provide natural gas to New York City, and it will be beneficial as it would create jobs.
Among those against it were Assembly District Leader Lew Simon, who said the DEC has been anything but friendly toward the area. “You guys come here looking for support, but you don’t help us. We have projects in Breezy Point and in Broad Channel that we’d like to move forward and you don’t allow it, but yet you come here looking for our support. The last time you proposed the original Williams pipeline, not many of us were able to get out and speak because it was right after the hurricane. DEC was pushing this through and no one was aware. Shame on DEC and shame on Williams, that likes to throw money and buy support. They’re not buying me off,” Simon said. “My message is clear: Governor Cuomo, veto this and all my state electeds, stand with us together. United we stand, divided we fall. Hell no to Williams Pipeline.”
Those in opposition are hoping that the DEC will either deny the permit for the project, or that Governor Andrew Cuomo will veto it, as he has done for similar projects in the past. A coalition of those showing opposition have organized a last-minute rally at City Hall at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 15. They will be joined by some elected officials who have signed letters to Governor Cuomo, asking him to veto the project. Around 50 elected officials have signed opposition letters. They are also requesting that people call Cuomo’s office directly to ask him to veto the pipeline at 877-235-6537.
For more information about the project, see www.northeastsupplyenhancement.com.