Queens lawmakers are applauding Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration’s rejection of the controversial $1 billion Williams Pipeline project.
More than 60 elected officials, including state Senator Joseph Addabbo and Councilman Costa Constantinides, joined over 250 organizations in opposition of the 24-mile pipeline that would have transported fracked natural gas from Pennsylvania under New York Harbor terminating just over 3 miles off the coast of Rockaway Beach.
The state’s Department Of Environmental Conservation rejected the project, also known as the Northeast Supply Enhancement, citing the state’s “rigorous water quality standards” saying construction would stir up sediments and other contaminants, including mercury and copper, and would disturb sensitive habitats, including shellfish beds and other bottom-dwelling marine life.
“New York is not prepared to sacrifice the state’s water quality for a project that is not only environmentally harmful but also unnecessary to meet New York’s energy needs,” the NYC DEC said in a statement.
“I believe the state’s denial of the Williams Pipeline is consistent with its previous concerns regarding the project and is consistent with its previous concerns regarding the project and is a great victory for our environment,” Addabbo said. “I have joined many opponents of the pipeline, such as my constituents in Rockaway, in highlighting the unwarranted need for this costly Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) pipeline project. I would like to thank all of the advocates and volunteers who came together to protect the environment from a project that would be obsolete in the near future, as we are innovating new ways of providing clean energy for New York.”
National Grid had agreed to buy the gas transported by the pipeline and when a second permit was rejected last year the utility declared a moratorium on new gas hookups in Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island. National Grid found alternative supplies and lifted its moratorium after Governor Andrew Cuomo threatened to revoke its certificate to operate its downstate gas franchise.
The DEC conducted a comprehensive review of the NESE application and supporting materials, as well as more than 16,000 public comments received on the applications before reaching its decision to reject the proposal.
“The Williams Pipeline was a bad deal that would have put communities at risk, destroyed our waterways, and married us into fossil fuel infrastructure for generations,” said Constantinides, the Chair of the City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection. “New York state made the right decision here, largely thanks to the hard work of advocates who saw the dangers of this project. Now it’s time for us to instead focus on clean, renewable energy so we no longer have to breathe in fossil fuel toxins and exacerbate our airways.”