Straight Through the Rockaways: Oversight of New Pipelines Is Split
By Sarah Crean, Gotham Gazette, October 15, 2012
NEW YORK — A plan to construct a new chain of natural gas pipelines from the Atlantic Ocean off the Rockaways through Jamaica Bay to the city is fueling anxiety from residents and some lawmakers because of its complexity and its potential impact on the surrounding community and coastal habitat.
The pipeline project is being championed by the mayor’s office, which says it is critical for meeting the demands of the energy-hungry metropolis, and National Grid, whose customers in Brooklyn and Queens will largely benefit from the increased supply that the project will bring.
Much of the project takes place in the 26,000-acre Gateway National Recreation Area. A new pipeline will extend from an existing gas line two-and-a-half miles off the Rockaway coast and run underneath Jacob Riis Park toward Jamaica Bay. Two pipelines will then run underneath the Bay, connecting to a proposed gas metering station to be housed in a historically significant hangar at Floyd Bennett Field. A separate pipeline will run from the meter station to an existing gas main on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn.
In terms of public review, the project has been split in two. Construction of the the coastal pipeline and meter station is being managed by Oklahoma-based Williams Companies. This section of the project is under federal jurisdiction and is subject to a full environmental review and public comment period.
National Grid is managing construction of the pipelines underneath Jamaica Bay, and along Flatbush Avenue. This section of the project is under the city’s jurisdiction. An assessment of potential environmental impacts associated with the project determined that there was no need for a full review. The determination also eliminated the requirement for a public comment period. [read more…]