Some Questions On The New NPS Pipeline
We first found out that a new pipeline was coming to Rockaway in 2010 when one of our graphic artists saw a strange ship on stilts off the coast of Riis Park. He took some photos and we were intrigued. After some digging, we found that the ship was doing survey off the shore in advance of a new pipeline that would be built from an existing Pennsylvania transfer site to Brooklyn via Riis Park and a large metering station at Floyd Bennett Field. We filed our story and then filed away the idea, figuring we would hear about it again when National Grid came to the city for its approval and the approval of the residents of Rockaway. That never happened, however, and the next thing we heard was last week when the House of Representatives approved a bill allowing the pipeline to be built under National Park Service property, cutting the city and Rockaway out of the picture completely. Not only was Congressman Greg Meeks a yes vote, he was one of the sponsors of the bill. So far, Congressman Bob Turner, who lives not far from the pipeline route, was also one of the bill’s sponsors and we have to wonder what his neighbors think of the plan. The NPS loves the plan because it will bring, according to Meeks, about $10 million annually to the park, which it can then use for renovations. That’s fine, but we have lots of question, the first being, why was Rockaway cut out of the decision-making process? Then, in reading the National Grid proposal to host the pipeline it specifically stated that it would have no mandate to bring the much-needed natural gas to Broad Channel, which now is the only community in New York City without gas service. Why not insure that the company, as a price for using Rockaway land, finally brings gas service to the island community? National Grid also says that there is no safety issue involved with the pipeline, but we Googled “pipeline accidents” and came up with 76 pages of problems with natural gas pipelines, many of which destroyed homes and killed local residents. The line runs nearby one of the busiest beaches in the city, through a venue where hundreds of little league kids play every weekend and where Rockaway hosts its arts venues. Should there not be a discussion on the possibilities? At the very least, if the feds are intent on having the pipeline, shouldn’t our Senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gilibrand, demand that the deal include gas service for Broad Channel? Once again, Rockaway is being put upon by the feds.