Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

New York Regulators Block Controversial Natural Gas Pipeline

Popular
More than 700 New Yorkers marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on April 18 to demand Gov. Andrew Cuomo to block the controversial Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline. Erik McGregor / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

New York's environmental regulatory body rejected a controversial natural gas pipeline Wednesday, The New York Times reported.


The so-called Williams pipeline, named for the Oklahoma-based companies that would have operated it, would carry natural gas 37 miles from Pennsylvania to New Jersey and New York. Williams said it was important to meet New York's growing energy needs, but environmental activists said it would harm the state's environment and tie the state to additional fossil fuel infrastructure in the face of climate change.

"New Yorkers are winning the fight against the Williams fracked gas pipeline, and we'll make sure this dangerous and unnecessary pipeline is never built," Stop the Williams Pipeline, a coalition of anti-pipeline groups, said in a statement.

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) received 14,000 comments from 45,000 individuals ahead of its decision, around 90 percent of them opposing the pipeline, Grist reported.

"I think it was the people power that made this happen," Lee Ziesche, one of six women who had conducted a hunger strike against the project, told Grist.

Activists also enlisted some political star power. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio came out against the project, and 11 members of Congress including Green New Deal champion Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote a letter to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo encouraging him to oppose the pipeline.

Cuomo did not take a stand on the project, saying the decision was up to DEC.

"I told them 'Let's make the decision on the facts, not on the politics,' and that's what they're going to be doing. They will make the decision," Cuomo said, as CBS New York reported.

Ultimately, the decision was announced in technical terms based on the harm the previously-named Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) pipeline would do to New York's waterways, The New York Times reported. Specifically, DEC said the pipeline's construction would contaminate New York's water with mercury and copper.

"Construction of the NESE pipeline project is projected to result in water quality violations and fails to meet New York State's rigorous water quality standards," the decision read.

The decision was made "without prejudice," which means Williams can reapply.

"The Department of Environmental Conservation raised a minor technical issue with our application," Williams spokesman Chris Stockton said in a statement reported by The New York Times. "Our team will be evaluating the issue and resubmitting the application quickly."

In a statement reported by CBS New York, New Yorkers for Affordable Energy spokesman Peter Kauffmann explained why some are keen to see the pipeline built and disappointed in Wednesday's decision:

"The state's blockade against natural gas infrastructure is a clear and present danger to New York's economy. Blocking this critical project will make the NYC metropolitan area more reliant on oil; increase greenhouse gas emissions; eliminate jobs on Long Island; and put the region on a path to skyrocketing energy prices and rolling blackouts."

But pipeline opponents say that those who support the pipeline have exaggerated the region's natural gas demand. A 350.org report written by former head of New York City's DEC branch Suzanne Mattei called such claims "a lot of smoke and mirrors," The New York Times reported.

Green activists said they would fight any attempts to revive the pipeline.

"The state has made it clear that dangerous gas pipelines have no place in New York," Natural Resources Defense Council Senior Attorney Kimberly Ong told The New York Times. "We will continue to ensure this reckless project is shelved forever."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A pangolin at a rescue center in Cambodia. Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay

By Malavika Vyawahare

China has banned the trade and consumption of wild animals in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that has claimed more than 2,700 lives and infected more than 81,000 people, most of them in China, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Read More
A man carries plastic shopping bags in Times Square on May 5, 2018 in New York City. Kena Betancur / VIEWpress / Corbis / Getty Images

Nearly one year after New York became the second state in the nation to pass a ban on grocery store plastic bags — the law is going into effect on Sunday.

Read More
Sponsored
White gold man-made diamond solitaire engagement ring. Clean Origin

While keeping track of the new trends in the diamond industry can be hard, it is still an essential task of any savvy consumer or industry observer. Whether you are looking to catch a deal on your next diamond purchase or researching the pros and cons of an investment within the diamond industry, keeping up with the trends is imperative.

Read More
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) (C) chants with housing and environmental advocates before a news conference to introduce legislation to transform public housing as part of her Green New Deal outside the U.S. Capitol Nov. 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) took to the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday to chide Republicans for not reading the Green New Deal, which she introduced over one year ago, as The Hill reported. She then read the entire 14-page document into the congressional record.

Read More
Anti Ivan Duque's demonstrator is seen holding a placard with the photos of social leader Alirio Sánchez Sánchez and the indigenous Hector Janer Latín, both killed in Cauca, Colombia during a protest against Ivan Duque visit in London which included a meeting about fracking, environmental issues, the peace process implementation, and questioning the risk that social leaders in Colombia face. Andres Pantoja / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

Colombia was the most dangerous nation in 2019 to be an environmental activist and experts suspect that conditions will only get worse.

Read More