Community Members Along North Brooklyn Pipeline Route Say DPS Hearings Are About More Than Vaporizers￼
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Zavé Martohardjono, firstname.lastname@example.org
BROOKLYN, NY- Brooklyn residents and environmental organizations are speaking out today to demand a full environmental review of all the phases of the North Brooklyn Pipeline along with the proposed expansion of National Grid’s Greenpoint LNG facility and to stop the gas currently flowing through the first four Phases of the pipeline at the New York State Department of Public Service’s (DPS) hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday in Greenpoint. DPS is holding the public hearings on National Grid’s proposal to install two additional vaporizers at the Greenpoint LNG facility, known as Phase 5 of their larger gas infrastructure project.
Community groups that live along the pipeline route in Brownsville, Ocean Hill, Bushwick, and Williamsburg also today filed a supplemental letter to their August 2021 federal civil rights complaint with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 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. They letter underscores how the pipeline, the proposed LNG facility expansion, including the installation of the vaporizers are one whole project that should have been subjected to environmental review together. The letter focuses on DPS’ civil rights violations and disregard of the rights and health of the communities of color on the pipeline route. The EPA and DOT are currently investigating the complaint.
Phases One through Four of the pipeline have been completed and are partially in use pending the completion Phase Five, but have never been subjected to any form of required environmental review and do not meet state and federal regulatory requirements. DPS is required to ensure any approval complies with environmental and legal standards, which it failed to do. DPS is also directly responsible for New York State’s implementation of the Pipeline Safety Act, which required National Grid to engage in a public awareness and education campaign about the pipeline, potential associated risks, and how to respond to such risks. Yet, communities along the “blast zone” of the pipeline route allege that they did not even know about the pipeline until after it was already completed and in operation – and many still have not received notice to this day. Additionally, community members allege that DPS failed to apply the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), which is a state law requiring a transition away from fossil fuels and mandates specific consideration of “disadvantaged communities” to the disproportionately Black and Brown communities that live along the pipeline.
Advocates also allege that DPS has failed to ensure that the pipeline was included in the National Pipeline Mapping System and to ensure that National Grid completed the required safety checks. DPS additionally approved a rate hike to pay for the pipeline that disproportionately affected low-income Black and Brown communities.
Now, as DPS holds hearings on the LNG expansion in Phase 5, community members are renewing their demands that DPS must reject the National Grid’s fiction that the LNG expansion is a “non-pipeline” project and evaluate the upstream and downstream environmental impact of the pipeline, designed to bring gas to and from the LNG facility.
“Despite what they’re saying now about the pipeline and the expansion of the LNG facility being separate projects, National Grid originally and has repeatedly claimed the pipeline was integrally related to the expansion of the LNG facility was necessary because of the additional gas the pipeline would be transporting to it – 1.8 million cubic feet per hour,” said Celina Trowell, Chair of the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Coalition of Young Professionals (CYP) and member of the Brownsville Green Justice. “So, we want DPS to require National Grid to submit the entire project for environmental review, and we want the gas flowing in phases 1-4 turned off.”
“Our community continues to not only suffer from the harmful environmental effects but financial implications as well,” said Fabian Rogers, member of Brownsville Green Justice. “Following DPS’ approval of the rate hike and failure to apply the CLCPA to the pipeline, our community was forced to pay higher utility bills for this dangerous gas to flow through our neighborhood without our consent. This is a violation of our civil rights.”
“We want DPS to do its job—shut the pipeline down and hold National Grid accountable for not meeting its obligations to our communities, said Pati Rodriguez, member of Mi Casa Resiste and resident of Bushwick. For example, this past summer I and my fellow activists challenging this pipeline in phases 1-4 took federal officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation on a tour of the pipeline route in our neighborhoods that we had to map out ourselves because DPS failed to ensure that National Grid submitted the pipeline to the National Pipeline Mapping System as the Pipeline Safety Act requires.”