2002-03-23 / Front Page

No Gas Pipeline In Broad Channel Future

By Howard Schwach

By Howard Schwach

Broad Channel has long been the only area in Queens without access to natural gas.

In order for the island community to get natural gas, KeySpan Electric would have a run a pipeline from Howard Beach or another area that has the service along Cross Bay Boulevard to the community.

It does not look like that will happen, at least not anytime soon.

"We are not pursuing the Cross Bay Pipeline for a variety of business reasons," Ed Yutkowitz, a company spokesperson says.

"The company is telling us that we are not worth the service," a long-time resident told The Wave. "They can’t make enough of a profit to justify the cost. They don’t even think in terms of service."

"They are a monopoly, however, and they should provide the service no matter what the cost. We can’t just go to another supplier, and that sets up an obligation."

The lack of natural gas has created a problem for some, while others see it as part of the "dues paid" for living on the island community.

"Not having natural gas really limits your choices, a new resident says. "You can use propane, which could be dangerous, or an electric stove, which really gets expensive."

"I would really like natural gas," she adds.

Not everybody agrees, however.

"The move to natural gas would be very expensive, especially to seniors living on a fixed income," says one senior citizen. "Using gas instead of propane could double the cost of cooking for the people who live here."

Last year, the local civic association, The Broad Channel Civic Association, backed natural gas service. In its newsletter, president Tim Tubridy, a retired firefighter, wrote that bottled gas is "more expensive, requires storage space and is more hazardous."

Local activists told The Wave that they will continue to lobby for the gas service.

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