The Pipeline

Residents of the Rockaways in conflict with Williams company over the controversial pipeline

Rockaway Beach, NY- The Williams Pipeline is the topic of conversations since May 16, 2016.   Far Rockaway residents and Stop the Williams Pipeline Coalition that formed with various organizations are looking to stop the pipeline from construction.  Due to the facts and research, it shows that the pipeline would be transporting fracked gas and it would not be any good for the environment, human health, marine life, and climate change.  Safety is also a factor because of the track-record of compressor stations either exploding or catching fire within the last ten years.

The Williams company has been in business since 1908.  With the demands of supply for natural gas, it brought the Williams company to buy the Transco Energy Co back in 1995.  That made the Williams company the largest transporter of natural gas.

The Williams Company has implemented a project known as the NESE (Northeast Supply Enhancement Project) which would require the building of a pipeline going from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Staten Island, Coney Island – Brooklyn, and the Rockaway Peninsula known as Far Rockaway. 

The Pipeline

According to Chris Stockton, media relations from the Williams company expressed that currently there’s just one pipe that is offshore right now that’s providing gas to the Rockaways and Brooklyn as we speak.

The pipeline was originally installed back in the early 1950s.  The purpose of installing a new infrastructure is to protect what is already there. Should the existing pipeline need to be renovated and/or removed, it would be done in the safest fashion not to cause any hazardous conditions.   The gas would still be able to flow through the new pipeline to keep everything running smoothly.

This project cost about $1 billion dollars to complete.  It will only take a year according to Chris Stockton from the Williams company. National Grid came to the Williams company asking for more supply because they are running out of gas to supply residents and businesses of New York City.  With that being said, the cost of the supply to handle the demand needed a bigger source, which the Williams company can oblige.  Gas is cheaper than heating oil which helps with the energy efficiency in New York City.

“We build based on what the demand is.  You do not just build and cross your fingers and hope the demand will come.  You will build based on what your customers are telling you, in which our case our customers are these utility companies.  They are telling us what their needs are going to be and so the pipeline project takes a long time to plan,” as Chris Stockton stated.

Fracked Gas

Natural gas is the main component in methane gas.  According to sources natural gas passing through the pipeline will help to lessen the effects of carbon dioxide more than coal and oil, and it aligns with the goals of NYC.  Fracked gas itself is known as a process of drilling down into the earth and combining high-pressure water mix that is injected into the rocks and exposes a gas that comes out of the well top.  Fracking gas is dangerous and is harmful to the well-being of humans and marine life.  Safety issues are a major concern to the locals as well as the politicians.

According to Joan Flynn, a resident from the Rockaways expressed her concern about the pipeline and how it is going to be detrimental to the community.  This video was sourced from Stop the Williams Pipeline and submitted by 350Brooklyn on YouTube on January 31, 2019.

Now residents and environmentalist are totally against the Williams’ pipeline. One spokesperson from Sane Energy, J.K Canepa had this to say.

The Project

This project which would estimate a cost of $1 billion dollars for a proposed expansion for a 10,000-mile Transco pipeline twilliams-pipeline-maphat will run from south Texas to New York City. The pipeline will be about 3.7 miles from the Rockaways and about 1 mile from Staten Island.  These pipelines will be transporting fracked gas from as far as Pennsylvania all the way through to NYC and Long Island.

The concerns of residents bring forth different reactions about the pipeline.

One a resident of Breezy Point, Far Rockaway, said, “Why do we need another pipeline?”

“We are a capitalistic society; you have to look at their motives?”

J.K. Canepa of Sane Energy also shared how building this pipeline was nothing but a travesty and how the residents of the Rockaways as well as Coney Island are not told the truth.  When talking with Canepa, she expresses in detail how the pipeline can be stopped with residents and politicians helping.

The Opposing Organizations

Stop the Williams Pipeline Coalition is made up of several entities.  The Sane Energy StopthewilliamspipelinecoalitionProject, 350Brooklyn, NYC Surfriders Foundation, Rockaway Beach Civic, New York Communities for Change, Food and Water Watch, and 350Org.   The coalition was set up two and a half years ago and it was not until a year later that the pipeline situation came out.

The make-up of these organizations came together to fight and be the voice against the Williams pipeline.  They feel after research and sources that the pipeline will devastate our environment, climate change, human health, and marine life.  The Coalition has attended various rallies both locally and upstate.  The process is to get the information and facts to the people to have upfront and complete transparency with regards to the outcome of the pipeline.

The Potential Problems

Studies have shown how each entity would be affected by the pipeline that supports fracked gas coming through the pipes into our waters.

  1. Infographic 1Health and marine life will be affected because the digging will bring up the arsenic lead, DDT, and PCBs from the sea floor.
  1. Bad climate will become an issue because the temperatures of the methane gas will capture more than 84 times of heat as carbon dioxide would be after 20 years it let loose.
  1. The commitment of the pipeline would carry fracked gas which undermines the projections of reducing greenhouse gas levels of 80% in New York, below the 2005 levels by 2050.
  1. Safety factors of how many times the pipelines have exploded or caught fire.
  1. NYC customers will handle the rising costs of natural gas if the plan should fail and National Grid will be charging higher rates.


The Fight

The Stop the Williams Pipeline Coalition has made a convincing case to support the reasoning of why the pipeline should not be built. They have given the Department of Environmental Conservation enough ammunition to decline the pipeline from getting authorization to continue to build.

Recently, the coalition held rallies and had locals and other people send letters appealing the construction of the pipeline.  This last rally bought some more time because currently, the Williams company had to refile again and still will not give up on building this pipeline.  Another issue that the coalition finds themselves facing is the National Grid drama.  Due to sources, it is being stated that National Grid is trying to bully their customers into co-signing the project for the pipeline otherwise they will not service their gas needs for home or business.

The Conclusion

Both sides, Williams company, and the Stop the Williams Pipeline Coalition advocates have different viewpoints about the building of the pipeline.

Currently, the pipeline is at a halt.  They are still awaiting some approvals for permits for New York and New Jersey.  However, this is not the end of the Williams company. The Williams company understand the concerns of the people, but they feel people have been misled about the entire process and purpose. All while the coalition, feels that Williams and other All parties involved must be able to come to some type of resolution or this battle is going to continue.

This is an ongoing issue and we will continue to update all information as it comes.

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