Pipeline Proposal Faces Opposition Again


Activists are once again opposing Williams Transco’s Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) Pipeline. On Tuesday, advocates delivered a petition signed by thousands of New Yorkers in opposition. The petition calls on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) chairperson Richard Glick to reject, on the Commission’s behalf, Williams’ request to extend the clock on the NESE pipeline by two years.

According to a press release, in 2019 and again in 2020, both New York and New Jersey denied key construction permits for the pipeline, which would have brought natural gas from Pennsylvania into New York City through a pipeline extension. Despite public opposition to the previous attempts, Williams Transco’s recent extension request to FERC noted plans to reapply in both states again this year.

“Williams Transco is trying to bring its widely opposed NESE Pipeline back from the grave, and New Yorkers are unified in resoundingly saying no — again,” said Food & Water Watch New York organizer Laura Shindell. “Significant citizen activation stopped this pipeline once before, and we can do it again. Richard Glick and FERC must deny Williams’ extension request.”

“FERC has no reason to extend the federal permit for this pipeline that they gave Williams because there were no unforeseen circumstances that delayed this project,” said Sara Gronim, 350Brooklyn. “There was nothing unforeseen about the toxic contaminants under the sea floor off New York City, nor the presence of shellfish and other marine life that would be destroyed by this construction. Williams was denied a New York State permit in 2020 for cause, and this denial was final. There is no point in wasting people’s time with another round of deliberations.”

During the very short 15-day comment period ending on April 6, New York and New Jersey residents submitted nearly 1,500 public comments against the project in addition to the thousands who signed the petition. Twenty-seven elected officials from the city and state level also submitted a comment strongly opposing the project and calling on FERC to deny Williams its request. More than 60 elected officials have publicly opposed the project, including Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, Mayor de Blasio, Comptroller Stringer and Public Advocate Williams.

“Alongside so many NY and NJ residents, organizations and elected officials, we continue to oppose the Williams NESE Pipeline,” the Rockaway Beach Civic Association said in a statement. “As part of a community that endured the devastating impacts of Superstorm Sandy, we recognize the urgent need to move away from fossil fuels and fracked gas infrastructure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in alignment with New York’s climate goals. Clean water and healthy ecosystems are essential to environment and economy. The NYS DEC and NJ DEP decisively DENIED the water quality permits necessary for the Williams NESE Pipeline, and the facts and findings of those determinations have not changed.”

“It’s obvious Williams Transco is grabbing for whatever is left as we see the approaching end of fossil fuel dominance. We expect FERC to deny them yet another chance to irrevocably damage our waters and our waterfront communities,” JK Canepa, Rockaway Outreach Coordinator with Sane Energy Project, said.