Activists took to City Hall on Thursday, Jan. 24 to try to stop the building of a 23-mile long pipeline that will carry fracked gas under New York Harbor. The planned pipeline, which is being called the Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) Pipeline and would be constructed by Williams of Oklahoma, would run along the Staten Island coast and extend out to four miles off Rockaway.
Williams’ already existing Transco pipeline covers approximately 10,200 miles, extending from South Texas to New York City, according to their website.
A coalition of groups made up of The New York Public Interest Research Group Fund (NYPIRG,) Food & Water Watch – New York, New York Communities for Change, 350 NYC and more formed to prevent the NESE pipeline from happening. Patrick Houston, Sara Gronim, Eric Weltman and Lee Ziesche are some of the people at the helm of this campaign to prevent the NESE construction.
“To lay this pipeline, Williams must excavate a giant trench across New York harbor,” reads an excerpt from an online document published by the coalition. “The harbor seabed is contaminated by toxins like PCBs, dioxin, lead, and arsenic. These toxins will be churned up into the water and washed ashore by the tides, contaminating marine life and the shoreline.”
Williams’ perspective on the pipeline is rooted in a belief that it will provide cleaner energy and economic opportunities. “Natural gas is a critical part of New York’s energy mix and the demand for it continues to increase. The additional natural gas capacity created by the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project will support new economic projects, environmental initiatives, and continue to allow homes and buildings to convert from dirty heating oils to a cleaner source,” reads an online statement by the company.
I’m originally from Pennsylvania, so I’ve seen the dangers of fracking and the harm that it’s causing there,” said Ziesche. “People can’t drink their water, they can’t breathe their air. And in New York, we said that fracking wasn’t safe. So why would we ban fracking here, but use more fracked gas?”