Protestors from more than 15 Long Island and New York City activist organizations rallied in front of State Sen. Todd Kaminsky’s office on Aug. 14, calling upon the senator to advocate against a proposed natural gas pipeline.
Known as the Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline Project, the planned pipeline would carry fuel from Pennsylvania to New York and New Jersey. Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company LLC, otherwise known as Transco, proposed the pipeline project more than one year ago.
At the rally, Roxi Sharif, one of Kaminsky’s constituents, directed comments to the senator.
“You were the main sponsor and driver of New York’s landmark climate bill,” Sharif said. “We need your leadership now to continue our renewable transition and to end the era of fossil fuels. We cannot afford a single additional project.”
Transco is owned by Williams Companies, Inc.; therefore, activists have dubbed the project “the Williams Pipeline.” Dozens of activist organizations have joined the Stop the Williams Pipeline Coalition in a strong effort to defeat the plan, which they call “unwanted and unnecessary.”
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation denied Williams’ permit applications, both in April 2018 and May 2019. However, a new application is pending a decision. When Williams filed its third application last month, more than 25,000 New Yorkers sent public comment to the DEC opposing the pipeline.
Organizations present at the rally last week included New York Communities for Change, 350.org, Sane Energy Project, Long Island Progressive Coalition, South Shore Audubon Society, Green Party of Nassau County, Sierra Club Long Island Group, All Our Energy and League of Women Voters Nassau County.
Jim Brown, one of Kaminsky’s constituents and an activist with the Green Party of Nassau County, spoke about how he and his wife struggled after Hurricane Sandy.
“We have experienced the ravages of climate chaos firsthand,” he said. “We had to relocate after the storm following the destruction of our home in Long Beach ... this pipeline is unnecessary. It will harm both human and marine life, and from a planetary perspective, this pipeline is totally incompatible in the fight against climate change. We all know this.”
If approved, the pipeline would service National Grid and provide gas to its customers.
“Natural gas is a critical component of the mix of energy sources necessary to meet the region’s growing energy needs,” Williams states on its website. “The affordability and abundance of natural gas has created tremendous opportunities for consumers … New York City, in particular, has experienced its cleanest air in over 50 years thanks to increased natural gas use.”
Some business leaders and energy companies have warned of a moratorium on gas in New York without additional pipelines. However, activists have rejected this as a fear tactic.
“The Williams pipeline would represent a decades-long commitment to dirty energy fueling the climate crisis,” said Laura Shindell, an organizer for Food and Water Watch. “If Gov. Cuomo is serious about tackling climate chaos and complying with the state’s new clean energy law, he must reject the Williams fracked gas pipeline.”
Kaminsky did not respond to a request for comment by press time Tuesday.