Fracked gas pipeline adds to mounting health disparities, Brownsville residents say

BP Adams: Project perpetuates 'a polluted, racist legacy'

September 29, 2020 Editorial Staff
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Residents of Brownsville rallied on Saturday against the construction of a National Grid fracked gas transmission pipeline under their neighborhood, calling on city leaders to revoke permits for a project they say forgoes community consent, endangers homeowners and perpetuates environmental racism.

Residents of Brownsville are calling for National Grid to halt all construction on the North Brooklyn Pipeline, and for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio to revoke permits and deny the utility a substantial rate hike in accordance with the NYS Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

At a time when communities of more color are experiencing higher rates of COVID-19, the pipeline will create greater health risks in a neighborhood already struggling with stark health disparities, residents said.

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Demonstrators marched through Brownsville on Saturday.

Borough President Eric Adams spoke at the rally.

“For decades, these communities have borne the brunt of dirty industries and suffered from environmental racism and injustice’s health impacts,” Adams said. “During this health and the ongoing economic crisis, Brooklynites deserve to know that their hard-earned ratepayer dollars are being used toward advancing clean energy goals — not to continue a polluted, racist legacy.”

National Grid received over 1600 safety violations while they were building a similar pipeline in Queens. Both the Governor and the Mayor have called attention to the need to move away from fossil fuels in the state and city.

“This is a public health issue. Gas prices are going up to pay for this risk to the health and safety of Black and brown communities. Stopping this pipeline is environmental, racial, and economic justice,” said Anna Leidecker, a public health student and community organizer in Brownsville.

Borough President Eric Adams spoke at the event.

Brownsville residents say they were not notified about the incoming pipeline, and were not included in the decision to bring the pipeline through their neighborhood.

“Black and Brown neighborhoods are plagued with environmental injustices and health issues historically and still now,” said Assemblymember Latrice M. Walker. “National Grid must ensure that this is not the case in this situation. The community must be included in the conversations that affect them.”

“We were not notified of this pipeline, but we want our voice to be heard to stop this pipeline, and we want it stopped now,” said Athalie Noel, a homeowner who has lived in Brownsville since the 1980s.

Brownsville residents gathered for the rally.

Other residents expressed fear for their lives, and for their children’s well-being.

“I live right beside this pipeline,” said Wangdu Dorjee, a member of the Brownsville Residents Green Committee. “I am really worried. If it explodes, we could die or be seriously injured. I doubt that any National Grid executives would want to live this close to such a danger.”

“I worry about our children,” said Brownsville resident Gloria “Auntie Gee” McCray-Knight. Take these pipelines and pump them in your own neighborhoods. Leave us alone. Give us life and not death.”

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