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Council introduces resolution to block Newtown Creek natural gas vaporizers

Environmental advocates say expansion poses health risk that disproportionately impacts communities of color

September 15, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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New York City Councilmembers Jennifer Gutierrez and Lincoln Restler introduced a resolution last Wednesday to block the construction of gas vaporizer expansions in National Grid’s Greenpoint Newtown Creek facility at 287 Maspeth Ave. The resolution calls on the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to object to National Grid’s permit, and the Public Service Commission to deny financing of the projects. 

The liquified natural gas vaporizers have drawn criticism for being outdated and environmentally damaging. The North Brooklyn pipeline project halted at the beginning of COVID when construction projects had to be suspended for concerns of worker health and social distancing, the Brooklyn Eagle reported.

National Grid Responds, See Below

National Grid supports New York’s efforts to dramatically reduce emissions across the state. We have and will continue to make significant investments in wind, solar, batteries and storage to make renewable energy more accessible across the state. We work with our customers on energy efficiency measures to reduce demand, and we are actively expanding the electric vehicle infrastructure. We have also invested in green hydrogen and renewable natural gas – and stand committed to our fossil free vision launched earlier this year.

We are disappointed that some of our elected leaders chose to score political points over ensuring safety and affordability for their constituents. This energy infrastructure is essential to provide safe, affordable and reliable service to our customers throughout the City on the coldest days of the year and to be available in the event of a supply disruption. It is a critical back-up resource for which there is no other solution to ensure that we have the capacity to provide heat to homes, schools, and businesses, exactly when it is most needed. Our customers, their constituents, deserve better. – Bryan Grimaldi, Vice President, National Grid Corporate Affairs New York

Critics of the North Brooklyn pipeline project have pointed out the burden of emissions from the natural gas vaporization process would fall upon neighborhoods where 70 percent of residents are people of color. The neighborhoods in the area – Greenpoint, East Williamsburg, Maspeth and Ridgewood – have high rates of asthma and lower life expectancy rates in part due to local pollution levels, according to spokespersons for councilman Lander. 

“North Brooklyn has been treated as a sacrificial zone by the fossil fuel industry for decades, and is a key example of environmental racism in our city,” said Council Member Jennifer Gutiérrez. 

“It is unconscionable to be building more infrastructure in these communities, and raise rates for consumers, for harmful projects that literally violate the environmental justice provisions of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act by increasing emissions in one of the most polluted communities in the country.”

“We cannot accept new vaporizers at the National Grid facility. Climate change is the greatest threat to New York City and this proposal moves us in the decidedly wrong direction,” said Councilmember Lincoln Restler. 

“The evidence is clear: we must do everything we can to expedite the end of our reliance on fossil fuels. The state should not allow National Grid to continue investing in what will soon become a stranded asset.”

“Environmental justice communities have put up with the burdens of polluting infrastructure for long enough” said Council Member Alexa Avilés. “I join my colleagues in demanding that the state reject the expansion of fracked gas projects in Brooklyn. Under no circumstances should ratepayers and environmentally burdened communities have to bear the cost of expanding polluting infrastructure that state law plainly states must be phased out.”

“I’m proud to stand with Councilmembers Gutierrez and Restler in opposition to the proposed two new LNG Vaporizers at Newtown Creek,” said Kristen Gonzalez, Democratic Nominee, New York State Senate District 59. 

“The communities in Greenpoint and Long Island City have been fighting for 20 years to restore Newtown Creek, and we should be focusing our efforts on providing our neighborhoods with clean air and water, instead of hiking up customer rates to pay for more damage to our environment.”

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