For Immediate Release
Following denial of Williams Pipeline, New Yorkers call on Governor Cuomo and PSC to reject National Grid’s fracked gas alternatives and approve only renewable, no gas infrastructure options
New York – Over 450 New Yorkers registered for an online People’s Hearing to say NO to National Grid’s “Williams Pipeline Plan B” which includes speeding up construction of a heavily protested transmission pipeline through North Brooklyn, expanding their Greenpoint Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility and expanding compressor stations along the “Iroquois” Pipeline.
Community members living near the proposed infrastructure passionately spoke out against adding gas infrastructure and criticized National Grid for ignoring community concerns.
“We’re at risk,” said Cari Gardner who lives in Athens, New York about two miles away from one of the compressor stations along the Iroquois pipeline that would be expanded. “We cannot keep expanding fossil fuel infrastructure. Gas leaks indiscriminately, all the time, especially at a compressor station and it explodes.”
“I stand with the No North Brooklyn Pipeline Coalition to demand that Governor Cuomo and the Public Service Commission halt the spending and investment of public money on soon to be stranded assets for fracked gas infrastructure,” said Greenpoint resident Katherine Thompson who noted her neighborhood is one of the most toxic in New York City because of decades of industrial pollution.
Instead of fracked gas expansion New Yorkers demanded the Public Service Commission and Governor Cuomo approve renewable options National Grid is proposing including energy efficiency, demand response and electrification.
“I’m all for renewable energy and a green new deal to keep people like me alive,” said Far Rockaway resident Mike Howard. He urged Governor Cuomo to start bailing out the people. “Stop bailing out the fossil fuel industry. Don’t bail them out. Bail us out first cause we’re the ones in need.”
“We should be enthusiastic about starting a transition away from fossil fuels into a 100% renewable future,” said Dana Grover with the Heat Smart Tompkins Campaign. “Don’t we want the community benefits, the community health and the green job growth that comes from this renewable energy economy? We want that. We all want that.”
The hearing was organized by Renewable Heat Now member groups Sane Energy Project, Alliance for a Green Economy, New Yorkers for Clean Power, and Mothers Out Front with Sierra Club, Food and Water Action, members of Stop the Williams Pipeline Coalition, members of NY Renews, and members of the No NBK Pipeline Coalition; concerned community members and environmental advocates from NY and CT.
National Grid has never presented their plans to expand compressor stations and LNG directly to the communities where the infrastructure would be built. The company has also failed to do environmental assessments now required by state climate law.
Raya Salter, Policy Organizer at NY Renews, a coalition of over 200 environmental justice, climate, labor, and community groups throughout New York state said: “National Grid’s “Plan B” does the opposite of what the CLCPA requires. When the CLCPA says we need to end fossil fuel use for energy by 2040; “Plan B” would expand that use. When CLCPA says frontline communities should be protected and not harmed, National Grid “Plan B” completely ignores any environmental justice analysis and they also refuse to even perform a climate risk analysis as also required by the CLCPA, so there is no way that we are going to let the state pick an option, much less this “Plan B,” without them hearing us loud and clear. Just like the Williams pipeline was turned back, because the CLCPA says that fossil fuels have to go, is exactly how “Plan B” needs to go.”
According to an agreement between National Grid and the New York Department of Public Service, New York State must approve an option to meet growing demand for heat, hot water, and cooking in downstate New York in June.