Oct. 27–STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Activists are concerned about the proposed $1 billion Northeast Supply Enhancement pipeline project that would require construction to take place just miles off the East Shore of Staten Island and other parts of New York.
Proposed by Williams, a public company that holds federal contracts, the project would add 37 miles of pipeline to the existing Transco pipeline.
The New York City chapter of Surfrider is opposed to the pipeline and is holding a community forum to inform Staten Islanders about the dangers they say the pipeline will pose to the borough.
“The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network,” according to its website.
The forum will be held on Oct. 30 from 6 to 7:45 p.m. at the St. George Library, located at 5 Central Ave.
“Our collective position is that [the pipeline] will be horrible for the New York bay. It’s back to being what it once was, as healthy as it’s ever been; the whales are back and this pipeline puts this at risk,” said Noelle Picone, campaign lead volunteer.
Chris Stockton, Williams’ spokesman, said that the expansion pipeline “would not directly affect Staten Island.”
“The existing line is operating at capacity, so the second line is needed to bring more natural gas. It also serves as a backup should the existing line fail,” Stockton told the Advance.
Karen Young, National Grid spokeswoman, said the project is needed as the demand for natural gas continues to increase across National Grid’sNew York Metro area.
“The project aligns with the region’s clean energy transition policies and will help reduce emissions,” Young told the Advance.
National Grid converts about 8,000 new residential and commercial customers to natural gas per year and the conversions will reduce local emissions by 300 tons per year, Young explained.
Picone said the pipeline goes against the city and state’s forward thinking stance on energy and the focus should be on wind and solar energy.
PERMITS DENIED BY DEC
A New York state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) spokesman said it denied a water quality certification permit in April 2018 because Williams did not complete its application in a timely manner, as well as a missing environmental review from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Williams needs a Water Qualification Certification under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, in addition to other DEC permits, in order to move forward with the project.
In its denial letter to Williams, DEC said, “…the construction of the project could have significant water quality impacts in New York State. This includes potentially significant impacts from the resuspension of sediments and other contaminants, as well as to habitats due to the disturbance of shellfish beds and other benthic resources.”
The spokesman said DEC is currently reviewing new applications for the permits, which will include an opportunity for public comment before a final decision is made.
“All such permit applications are subjected to a rigorous review to ensure proposed projects are protective of public health and the environment,” the spokesman said.
If permit approval goes according to plan, construction of the pipeline would begin in fall or winter of 2019 with a completion date of 2020-2021.
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