2012-03-09 / Letters

Pipeline Opposition

Dear Editor,

I cannot believe that people are not vehemently opposed to seeing a natural gas pipeline going through Gateway National Park and along the entire Rockaway shoreline. This is a move that will irreversibly turn over irreplaceable nationally protected natural resources to destruction.

We are turning a blind eye to the dangers at hand. One only needs to look in the papers to see the damage that natural gas pipelines can cause to a community. Yet it is the utility company itself which is doing the safety report on the effects it would have on our community. And whose interest will they have?

Yet this is a political move that is being done behind closed doors to keep the communities of Marine Park and the Rockaway Peninsula at bay. As we speak, nearly a billion dollars is being spent for lobbyists, lawyers and others to keep it that way as legislation is being passed.

This is nothing compared to the pittance that they offer for the right-ofway and lease to dig a trench through more than 17 miles of our most treasured natural resources.

Why not look to find ways that offer comparable funds to be used NOW to build goodwill and make a solid promise to our communities by revitalizing our shorefront, building infrastructure to connect the public to Jamaica Bay or improvements needed to make Gateway an “Iconic Urban National Park” instead of the sad state it is in now.

Our politicians and others are trying to make sense of this as the pipeline is virtually a done deal. Signed and sealed by the Secretary of the Interior and others who should have more concern for the local community. But what options do we have?

Unfortunately, this is not unprecedented. Other communities have fought this fight before. And today there are already other US national parks offering rights-of-way through our national treasures. It is just wonder why more people are not standing up against this.

But this is not the real reason I vehemently oppose this. It is the fact that this is a NATIONAL PARK. The mission of the national park service is to preserve “unimpaired” the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.

It is unfathomable that Secretary Salazar and others would help to pave the way for this when these are the only NATIONALLY protected natural resources we have in New York City. This is it. And when we start putting natural gas pipelines in our National Parks it is irreversible.

There is no going back. It opens a door that cannot EVER be closed and the concept that was established in large part by Frederick Law Olmsted himself as, “America’s best idea,” will forever be lost.

The history of National Parks is a story of people from every conceivable background, who were willing to devote themselves to saving some precious portion of the land they loved, and in doing so reminded their fellow citizens of the full meaning of democracy.

I encourage people to contact our elected officials on Federal, State and local levels to voice your concern and take a stand to protect what Olmsted, Roosevelt and others spent a lifetime protecting for all of us and future generations to enjoy.


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