Rockaway Pipeline Project Delayed


The saga continues as the fight to shut down The Williams Companies' Northeast Supply Enhancement Project (NESE), which aims to place a 23-mile pipeline just south of the Marine Parkway Bridge that would extend to Raritan Bay, New Jersey, brings new developments. On Friday, April 20th, TWC had a critical water quality permit for their pipeline denied; however, the battle is nowhere near over. Citizens of Rockaway will have an opportunity to publicly express how they feel about the pipeline tomorrow, April 26th, in Brooklyn at The Best Western Gregory Hotel (8315 4th ave.) from 5-9 pm at a mandatory public hearing about the pipeline.

If the time and location of the hearing seem off, that's because it is. Kim Fraczek of the Sane Energy Project told us that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) strategically holds public meetings about controversial projects at inopportune times and locations in order to deter people from coming out and speaking up. FERC is financially supported by gas infrastructure, leaving the public to believe they will never be of assistance in this process. As a counteraction, SEP will be providing two 15-passenger vans, sponsored by Surfrider, to and from the meeting. SEP will also well as holding a press conference outside of the hearing. The vans will leave from from Knights of Columbus (333 Beach 90th St.) at 3:30 and Seaside Library (116-15 Rockaway Beach Blvd at 3:45, and again at 6:45 and 7pm, respectively.

The purpose of the public hearing is to give community members an opportunity to state how the pipeline could affect their business, environment, and/or health. Typically this is done in a room full of supporters, but FERC has changed the routine and will have one FERC official and a stenographer go inside a room with a member of the community to give their 3-minute statement on how the project will affect them. Since the statements will be given privately, SEP will have videographers on site to record participants' statements after they leave the private session. Although an approval on the NESE is inevitable, the evidence collected in the public meetings and past protests can be used in an appeal against it in the future.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation says it denied the permit "without prejudice" because TWC's application materials were incomplete. An ongoing environmental review may result in changes to the project. However, TWC can, and most likely will, apply for the permit again next year, restarting the process.

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