North Brooklyn residents and community groups are holding a rally outside of a fundraiser for Governor Andrew Cuomo at Giano On The Water (400 Kent Ave.) in Williamsburg to protest National Grid’s fracked gas pipeline, known as the Metropolitan Reliability Infrastructure Project, that is making its way toward Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint.
Brownsville saw the start of the 6.8-mile-long pipeline’s construction in 2018, and the project quietly progressed toward North Brooklyn where local residents say that they were only recently informed of the plan.
Small businesses in East Williamsburg have reportedly taken a massive hit from the construction and road closures, and critics say that a $185 million rate hike is anticipated for National Grid customers in New York over the next three years to cover the pipeline’s costs.
Huge turnout in freezing temps this morning against the dirty @nationalgridus North Brooklyn fracked gas Pipeline, which successfully shut down construction today, but it needs to stop permanently. The NBK community knows what it wants #ShutItDown #NoNBKPipeline #PublicPower now! pic.twitter.com/M5bSGA3rY8
— Sunrise NYC
(@sunrisemvmtnyc) February 15, 2020
Protestors last Sunday led by Sane Energy Project gathered near the project’s construction path on Moore Street and Manhattan Avenue calling on both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Cuomo to deny the 30″ pipeline just a week after the State of the City address where de Blasio announced that NYC will no longer pursue new projects that support fossil fuels.
“By 2040, we still stop using natural gas and other fossil fuels in large building systems in New York City, starting in government buildings,” de Blasio’s plan states. “We will work with lawmakers to ensure that new permits for building systems are aligned with our goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.”
Cuomo also recently denied a permit for the proposed 23-mile-long Williams Pipeline that would have transported natural gas to Brooklyn.
What’s different this time? The name of the company is different. Instead of Exxon Mobil, it’s National Grid.
— Joe Lentol (@assemblymanjoe) February 15, 2020
Assemblyman Joe Lentol told News 12 Brooklyn at the protest last Sunday that he has concerns over the environmental impact of the pipeline: “Why should we be embarking on a project like this when we ought to be doing clean energy if we believe in climate change,” he said.
Brooklyn Community Board 1 also came out against the project this month with a unanimous vote to oppose the rate hike from National Grid.
Rate hikes aside, a National Grid spokesperson tells Gothamist that the pipeline will not result in an increased volume of gas moving underneath Brooklyn:
National Grid spokesperson Karen Young says the North Brooklyn pipeline “does not add additional gas into the system” and “improves safety, reliability and resiliency for our existing customers.” The company has been under scrutiny for months after it declared a moratorium on new gas hookups after Cuomo rejected the contested Williams pipeline last May. After Cuomo threatened to revoke its franchise with the state, National Grid lifted the moratorium in November.
“The project is important to natural gas customers in the local community who depend on gas service to heat their homes and run their businesses,” Young said. “The gas main design, engineering controls and safety features we have in place meet or exceed NYC construction standards.”
According to the most recent update on the project posted to National Grid’s website last weekend, the following work is to be performed this week:
“Moore Street is closed to passenger cars between Humboldt Street and Graham Avenue from 9AM to 4PM Monday to Friday. Our team is working with local businesses to maintain access for delivery vehicles.
Work on Moore Street between Bushwick Avenue and Manhattan Avenue.
Work on Manhattan Avenue between Moore Street Montrose Avenue.
Work on Montrose Avenue between Manhattan Avenue and Lorimer Street.
During the day there will be changes in traffic patterns on Moore Street, Manhattan Avenue, and Montrose Avenue with flaggers present to redirect traffic as necessary.
Continued outreach to stakeholders in advance of upcoming work.”