NYC Antis Continue to Pressure Cuomo to Block NESE Pipeline

Last Thursday, “more than 300” anti-fossil fuel nutters protested to “demand” that Gov. Cuomo block Williams’ proposed Northeast Supply Expansion (NESE) pipeline project. We have extensively covered NESE and the coming decision by Cuomo’s lapdogs at the Dept. of Environmental Conservation.

Just last week MDN told you about a leading New York City tenant leader who says without NESE, poor people in NYC will be hurt the most (see NYC Housing Authority Tenant Leader Lobbies for NESE NatGas Pipe).

We’ve told you that both National Grid and Consolidated Edison say that without NESE, they will implement a moratorium on all new gas customers throughout NYC (see Con Ed Threatens NYC Proper: No New Pipe, No New Gas Customers and National Grid Keeps Promise, No New NYC Gas Customers).

Con Ed has already implemented a moratorium on new gas customers in Westchester County, an NYC suburb, which went into effect in mid-March (see Moratorium on New Gas Hookups in Westchester County Begins Today).

Cuomo has a decision to make: Cave to a small group of crazies and screw all of NYC, sending the entire state into an economic depression; or approve a tiny, 24-mile pipeline that sits offshore. Unfortunately, we just don’t have a clue what he will do. He’s a nutter himself.

More than 300 environmental activists on Thursday demanded Gov. Andrew Cuomo block a natural gas pipeline that they worry could threaten waters off New York City’s shoreline.

The Williams Companies argue the 24-mile pipeline would increase the region’s supply of natural gas as consumers move away from heavy oils. But to advocates like those who rallied outside City Hall, the project poses a threat to communities that Superstorm Sandy devastated less than a decade ago, especially as New York tries to move away from fossil fuels that are worsening the impacts of climate change.

The project gives Cuomo a chance to prove he’s serious about cutting the state’s reliance on fossil fuels and moving toward renewable energy, activists and lawmakers said.

“If Governor Cuomo is being honest about his plans to take New York off fossil fuel, he can’t approve a pipeline that’s meant to last for the next 50 years,” state Assemblyman Robert Carroll, a Brooklyn Democrat, told the crowd.

The so-called Northeast Supply Enhancement project would pump natural gas out from Pennsylvania through New Jersey and into a pipeline in New York waters off the shores of Staten Island and the Rockaway peninsula.

Williams wants to have the pipeline up and running by 2020, saying it would help meet growing demand for natural gas by customers in the Northeast, including 1.8 million people served by National Grid in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Long Island.

The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation must decide whether to grant a crucial permit for the project by May 16, advocates say.

Allowing it to move forward would rub up against Cuomo’s ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as the pipes would pump fracked gas through New York’s waterways, activists and officials argue. It could also harm the people and wildlife who live in and along those waters, they say.

“In the Rockaways we have dolphins, we have whales, we have sea turtles — it’s insane,” said Saylor Pochan, a Rockaway resident and volunteer with the Surfrider Foundation. “… But if this pipeline passes through, all this stuff is at risk. All this stuff is in danger.”

Both National Grid and Con Edison have reportedly threatened to place moratoriums on new natural gas connections if the project does not get built. But activists and elected officials have questioned the pipeline’s necessity, saying there’s no big new market for natural gas.

Thursday’s rally came just hours after the City Council passed a package of legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change. It included a resolution calling on the Department of Environmental Conservation to deny the permit for the Williams pipeline.

“Governor, we are at a time when your words are not enough,” Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said. “We have to see action. Governor, we are at a time where you can no longer use loopholes at your convenience.”

In a statement on the project, the DEC said it is reviewing input from the public and has not yet made a final decision on the pipeline’s water quality certificate and other permits.

“DEC subjects all applications for environmental permits to an extensive and transparent review process that encourages public input at every step?,” the department said. “DEC will continue to rigorously evaluate these applications to protect public health and the environment and to ensure all applicable standards are met.”*

The antis say, “…there’s no big new market for natural gas” in NYC. They may want to pull their heads out of their collective rear-ends and go visit Westchester County where the leaders are in full-fledged panic over the moratorium there (see Westchester County Soiling Itself re NatGas Moratorium).

*New York (NY) City Patch (Apr 18, 2019) – Walk The Talk And Block NYC Pipeline, Activists Tell Cuomo