BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Activists rallying outside a hearing in Brooklyn to demand the state not grant permits to the Williams company for a natural gas pipeline beneath the waters off Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens.
“We know that Trump’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will rubber-stamp the pipeline so the decision really rests in the hands of Governor Cuomo," said Laura Shindell, an organizer with Food & Water Watch.
They argued against the pipeline project on the street. Inside the Bay Ridge Manor where the hearing took place there were more protests.
"This construction will dig up old industrial toxins from underneath the sea bed and churn them into our waters, a threat to both human and marine life," said Sara Gronim, an activist with 350Brooklyn.
"I’m 29 years old and I live in Brooklyn. I want this to be my home I don’t want it to go underwater by a dirty frack gas pipeline," said Lee Ziesche of Sane Energy Project.
The pipeline would take gas extracted in Pennsylvania through the controversial process known as fracking and transport it through New Jersey to New York for customers of the utility National Grid. The state Department of Environmental Conservation is to decide on the permits in May.
"Approximately 23.5 miles of underwater pipeline would be installed of which approximately 17.4 miles would be in New York State waters," said Karen Gaidasz of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The company says its technique of laying the pipeline beneath the harbor would barely disturb the sediment and that any toxins kicked up would remain close to the bottom.
Many who testified on behalf of the proposal are union members who touted how the billion dollar project would create jobs and make the gas supply more reliable.
"The NESE is needed because it will supply the growing demand for natural gas to 1.8 million customers in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island," said David Butterworth with Pipeliner Local 798.
But opponents outnumbered supporters. Some complained the pipeline would lock New Yorkers into decades of fossil fuel rather than pushing forward to renewable energy sources.
The next public hearing takes place in the Rockaways on March 6.