Rockaway senator says proposed pipeline expansion would add another burden for peninsula residents

Courtesy of Stop the Williams Pipeline Coalition

Environmental issues were the primary concern of Queens state Senator Joseph Addabbo when he decided not to support the Williams Pipeline project, also known as the Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline or NESE.

The 24-mile expansion of existing pipeline would cross the Rockaway Peninsula on its way to another pipeline three miles offshore.

“My first concern is for the people who live in the Rockaways and who have valid concerns regarding the project,” Addabbo said. “This pipeline would provide no clear, direct benefits to my constituents, and may actually impact their quality of life. After suffering from Superstorm Sandy, with hundreds of people still not back in their homes more than six years later, I cannot support an initiative that may burden them even further.”

Addabbo believes that companies should retreat from pumping climate-changing gases into the atmosphere and that construction of the pipeline also has the potential to disrupt marine life, in addition to the number of toxins that would be exposed and possibly released into the waters where residents and visitors swim. Also of concern is the $926 million cost of the project, money Addabbo feels would be better spent on renewable and clean energy initiatives.

The senator also pointed to New York’s Clean Energy Standard, which mandates the state receive 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030 and a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the same time frame.

”While I understand that natural gas is a bridge energy source before we fully integrate to cleaner energy forms, it does not mean we have to spend close to a billion dollars on advancing natural gas projects. It seems to me we are moving backwards instead on moving forward environmentally.”

In 2010, Addabbo was a major opponent of fracking in New York and the process of hydraulic fracturing of gas, which he believed to be dangerous and a contributor to climate change.

“I know of the need for different sources of energy, but I do not believe fracking gas is the answer,” Addabbo said. “The Rockaways are already leading the way in renewable energy with an offshore wind farm project, as New York State aims to power 1.2 million homes with these wind farms by 2030.”

Williams, a Tulsa, Oklahoma energy company that operates the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company had hoped to have the project finished by 2020.

“In the end, after reviewing the many aspects of the NESE pipeline project, I have determined that the negative impacts, cost and environmental direction outweigh any benefits the pipeline may bring,” Addabbo said. “It is because of these reasons that I stand with my constituents in Rockaway in opposing the construction of the NESE pipeline and will continue to work towards addressing the energy needs and efficient practices of our state.”