Brooklyn Groups and Hundreds of Environmental Organizations Demand Halt of Gas Flow in Brooklyn Pipeline on Grounds of Discrimination￼
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Zavé Martohardjono | email@example.com
As New York State decides on permits, Brooklyn community groups and lawyers on their behalf coordinated several demands to stop the flow of gas through National Grid’s North Brooklyn Pipeline and undertake an immediate environmental review.
On May 3, Brownsville Green Justice (BGJ), the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Coalition of Young Professionals (CYP), Mi Casa Resiste, and Indigenous Kinship Collective (IKC) sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) demanding the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) undertake an immediate full environmental review of the pipeline and the linked Greenpoint LNG facility before any decision is made on the permit to protect their civil rights under Title VI.
On May 4, NY Renews, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) in coalition with hundreds of environmental organizations wrote the EPA and DOT to demand DEC deny the pipeline’s permit and cease its operation.
“As Black, Brown, and Indigenous activists, organizers, and residents of Brownsville, Ocean-Hill, Williamsburg, and Bushwick—the communities that make up phases one through four of the pipeline and the phases in which gas is currently flowing—we were the first to be impacted by this project and the last to find out about it. The only solution is to stop the flow of the gas,” said Fabian Rogers, Ocean Hill-Brownsville resident and member of Brownsville Green Justice.
“The DEC has done an environmental review of the Greenpoint facility, but not with the pipeline as required by state and federal law,” said Anjana Malhotra, Senior Attorney at the National Center for Law and Economic Justice. “We are asking the EPA to do its job and hold the DEC accountable under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Gas should not be flowing through the North Brooklyn pipeline and harming Black and Brown residents who already suffer disproportionate impacts of climate injustice and have higher rates of related health issues.”
The Brownsville and Bushwick community groups are Title VI complainants represented by the National Center for Law and Economic Justice and the Civil Rights and Disability Justice Clinic at New York Law School Legal Services, Inc. in a groundbreaking federal civil rights case that began in August 2021.
The community groups filed a complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice, EPA, DOT and Department of Energy alleging that the location and operation of the pipeline and related projects discriminate against communities of color that live along its nearly seven-mile route. In January 2022 the community groups called on the EPA to bring DEC in compliance with Title VI before issuing an air permit.
The organizations’ follow-up demands this week reiterate that the North Brooklyn Pipeline, also known as the Metropolitan Reliability Infrastructure Project, would disproportionately harm the health and environments of residents in the predominantly Black and Latinx communities in Brownsville, Ocean Hill, Bushwick, and East Williamsburg.
The groups asked the DEC to conduct a full environmental assessment to determine the impacts of the pipeline on residents of color who suffer from some of the highest asthma rates and other respiratory conditions in the city. Concerns include methane and other toxic substance leaks and particulate matter emissions from the pipeline that would affect community members’ respiration. Additionally, leaks into soil and water systems would harm and kill neighborhood trees which mitigate the effects of climate change.
The environmental coalition’s latest request for an environmental assessment and halting the pipeline’s operation follows allegations that DEC and New York State Department of Public Service failed to consider the disparate health and safety impacts on Black and Latinx communities who are already burdened with some of the worst health disparities in the City. Neither agency considered the pipeline’s impact on the Brown and Black communities in violation of Title VI. This is in direct contrast to DEC’s consolidated review of pipeline and energy projects in a white community.
National Grid’s North Brooklyn Pipeline would bring millions of gallons of fracked gas each day to the Greenpoint LNG facility, increasing potential gas flow by more than 1.8 million cubic feet per hour.