OPINION: Environmental concerns outweigh desire for cheaper natural gas
Hats off to New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who is leading the opposition to the Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement pipeline.
On Wednesday he voiced his grave concerns about the $1 billion natural gas pipeline that would cut across 23 miles of lower New York Bay. Although environmentalists are understandably alarmed, the Williams Company says the new pipeline would provide much needed natural gas capacity to Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.
A Draft Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission acknowledged that the construction and operation of the pipeline would result in “some adverse environmental impacts” but said most of these impacts would be temporary, such as water “turbidity, sedimentation, and pile driving noise.”
We note that the area in question includes Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways. Both are treasures for Brooklyn and Queens.
In his statement released this week, Stringer said, “The 23-mile pipeline would extend from New Jersey, along the Staten Island coast, past Coney Island and into the Rockaways. Allowing the construction of the pipeline risks damage to many of New York’s most precious habitats and natural assets, including New York Harbor, Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway’s many beaches.”
The impact statement, said Stinger, doesn’t take into account climate change and rising sea levels.
Williams countered that National Grid’s need for natural gas is expected to grow by more than 10 percent over the next 10 years due to continued conversion from oil heat to natural gas and increased demand from new construction.
Stringer is joined by Councilman Donovan Richards and Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato, who believe that we should be focusing on alternative means of energy, not fracking and dangerous pipelines.
In a press release, Richards said, “New York must get serious in our efforts to combat climate change immediately by focusing on clean, renewable energy projects. We should be talking about tapping into wind energy off our shores or the geothermal energy beneath our feet, not building pipelines.
“Renewable energy is the future, and the faster we get on board the faster we can train New Yorkers for quality green jobs and provide sustainable economic growth for the long term. The Williams Pipeline is the wrong approach for this city, this state and this nation.”
Amato said, “We have a duty as New Yorkers to protect our environment so that our children and future generations can inhabit it.”
We agree with the opponents of the pipeline. We must not make the mistake of going for the easy option. Even if that means a short-term inconvenience and higher costs. Future generations deserve no less from us.
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