Image courtesy Andrew Cuomo/Darren McGee, Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
The Williams Pipeline was just rejected by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. It would have carried natural gas that had been fracked from Pennsylvania to parts of New York City. This pipeline would have also trapped New York into several decades of dependence on fracked gas. We need to ease off fossil fuels, in my opinion — not triple the dosage.
The proposal for the Williams Pipeline, named after the Oklahoma company behind the project, is to lay a new conduit under Lower New York Bay to carry gas from hydraulic fracturing sites in Pennsylvania to homes in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and Long Island. Fracked gas contains high amounts of methane. Imagine if this was to have a leak and all of that gas got into the bay. Also, this would create potent emissions that would trap more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide traps. This would be completely opposite of what many advocates have been pushing for — the transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy.
Big good news from New York! The Williams Pipeline—which would’ve stretched from PA and NJ, crossing NY Harbor to bring fracked gas to the Rockaways—is finally dead! Thank you, @NYGovCuomo
New York State Rejects the Williams Fracked Gas Pipeline https://t.co/mhqmbi9CUK
— Dr. Sandra Steingraber (@ssteingraber1) May 15, 2020
Williams submitted a second application for a permit to extend the pipeline from New Jersey’s Raritan Bay through the southern part of New York Bay. This was denied by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation. Adding the cherry and whipped cream to this, Daniel Whitehead, the director of the agency’s Division of Environmental Permits, said that the “apparent lack of need for the project, as well as its increased impacts to water quality as compared to identified alternatives,” was the reason for rejecting the proposal with prejudice — meaning the company can’t reapply.
President Trump may not like this rejection since last year he wanted to limit New York’s ability to use the federal Clean Water Act to block projects like the Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline, which is the official name of the Williams Pipeline.
The Trump administration has made it known that it wants to boost oil, gas, and coal development. In the press release that announced the move, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler supported the proposal, saying, “When implemented, this proposal will streamline the process for constructing new energy infrastructure projects that are good for American families, American workers, and the American economy.”
By wording this to sound patriotic and pull at the heartstrings of those who believe we should put America first (and we should, but I have a different take on that definition), he cleverly disguises the support of an industry that really doesn’t care about the American people at all. If they truly cared, they would invest more in clean energy infrastructure products that are good for everyone and our economy.