Brooklyn residents take legal action against the construction of the North Brooklyn pipeline
Brooklyn residents gathered in Brownsville, claiming that National Grid misled the community. The residents have filed a Title VI complaint asking the federal government to examine the project. The New York Law School Civil Rights and Disability Justice Clinic and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice say there is documentation that public hearing, health and safety requirements were ignored, discriminating against Black and LatinX communities.
“They tore up the roadways, they shut down the streets, and they didn’t tell residents what they were doing, even residents that came and asked them,” says senior attorney Anjana Malhotra, of NCLEJ. Community members say they decided to take action when they learned that gas was actually pumping through their community at the moment.
The state Department of Public Service (DPS) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) improperly approved the pipeline, complain the petitioners.
Since National Grid, DPS and DEC all receive federal funding, they are subject to the federal Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination and actions that lead to disparate impacts based on race, said Anjana Malhotra.
“What’s more,” Malhotra added, under federal and state regulations, the agencies and company are “required to consult with minority communities, make sure their voices are heard in any decision making and are also federally required to give notice and consider the impact on communities of color.”