Watchdog Group Worried About Bay’s Pipeline Proposal

Watchdog Group Worried About Bay’s Pipeline Proposal

This proposal would eliminate about 400 acres of Jamaica Bay to expand a runway from JFK International Airport. The proposed changes are highlighted in green.

Concerns revolving around a project proposing the building of a pipeline from Brooklyn to Queens within Jamaica Bay were among some of the issues that came up at the latest meeting of the Jamaica Bay Task Force last week.

The project, known the Rockaway/Gateway gas pipeline project, is designed to tap into the Transco Williams Pipeline via a proposed three-mile pipeline running under Jamaica Bay and connecting Brooklyn and Queens.

The pipeline project is part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC initiative, started in 2007, which is aimed at finding solutions towards bringing in clean energy for New York City.

However, residents and activists became alarmed after the US House of Representatives passed a bill in February that gave the go-ahead to the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the National Parks Service, to allow the construction and operation of the project.

According to Dan Mundy, Sr. of eco watchdog group Jamaica Bay Task Force, cause for alarm was due to the passage of the bill without notifying either residents or his group, which he said would have liked to have more time to review the proposal.

“The situation is, here we are trying to do our due diligence, and we’re finding out that decisions have already been made,” he said.

Mundy said that his group is also worried about the potential precedent that the bill could set for other pending projects, such as the proposal to extend a runway by 400 acres from JFK International Airport into Jamaica Bay—which has been opposed by both the group and elected officials such as state Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder as a project that could spell disaster for the ecosystem around the bay.
While residents blasted the pipeline proposal at the meeting, Mundy said his group is asking state and federal officials to keep his group in the loop with the project’s status.

Although he didn’t say the group would necessarily approve the project, Mundy added that if the project was to go forward, his group would like assurances from project officials that the pipeline would not interfere with either the bay or ongoing projects currently scheduled there such as marsh restoration projects around Yellow Bar.

The project, which still needs to be approved by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the US Army Corps of Engineers, would also require a full-blown environmental impact study as the pipeline runs underneath nearby the Gateway Recreation Area in Jamaica Bay, according to Don Riepe of the Jamaica Bay Task Force.

Calls to the National Parks Service were not returned before press time.

By Jean-Paul Salamanca


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