Streams

Rockaway Pipeline Project Set to Move Forward

Sunday, December 02, 2012

The map shows where the proposed Rockaway Lateral Project pipeline would be built. (Williams' Transco/Williams' Tranco)

A pipeline operator is moving forward with plans to build a natural gas pipeline through the Rockaways and under Jamaica Bay, despite concerns about the area's vulnerability to storms like Sandy.

The Rockaway Lateral Project would construct a 3.17 mile pipeline that would connect to an existing natural gas line in the Atlantic Ocean and run beneath Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways and Jamaica Bay to Brooklyn's Floyd Bennett Field. The Rockaways suffered major damage from Sandy.

Chris Stockton with the Williams Companies says the pipeline would be built under the ocean floor and be designed to withstand the roughest storms.

“We’re not only burying it under ground, but they put concrete mats over the pipe to make sure it doesn’t float to the surface, because you’re filling it with a gas. You want to make sure it doesn’t float,” Stockton explained.

But environmentalists say one of the components of the project — a meter and regulation station set to be built on Floyd Bennett Field — would be under water if a storm stronger than Sandy hit the area in the future.

“If the storm surge hits one foot higher, then Floyd Bennett Field is flooded,” said Sandi Stratton-Gonzalez with the Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline.

President Obama signed legislation allowing the use of Gateway National Park, essentially allowing the project to move forward. It still needs approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Williams says it plans to submit an application to the agency in January.

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Comments [5]

Karen Orlando from Brooklyn, NY

Missing too is information about National Grid's accompanying Brooklyn Queens Interconnect project. The Rockaway Later is intertwined with that project which according to the Mayor's office needs no further review. The two pipes that will run under the rockaway inlet are considered part of that project which drilling may begin for as early as this February.

Dec. 03 2012 12:32 PM
Jarad from Rockaway Beach

I have to agree, once again private interests supplant those of the people and wildlife areas. How interesting that this comes on the heels of the worst storm to hit the area in recent history, too. A subject that has been of contention since the story broke is easily buried when the whole area has been through such destruction. I myself have been displaced from this storm, and am now in Brooklyn. Shame on Williams co. for choosing such a time to move forward. I'm sure they'll have a bit less dissent to deal with.

Dec. 03 2012 07:08 AM
Sean O'Connell from Broad Channel, New York

I attended a Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline demonstration this summer and I agree with Karen that there is far more to be concerned about than possible storm surge repercussions. Large scale gas pipelines have been known to leak majorly, releasing methane straight into Jamaica Bay, the largest metropolitan estuary in the US. The stability of wildlife in Jamaica Bay will be compromised by this pipeline and the fragile saltwater marsh that is a vital defense against the aforementioned storm surges will be degraded even further past their already historic low area. We need to stop letting big money get in the way of safety for everyone, humans and wildlife and protect our environment more diligently so hopefully it is there for our enjoyment in the future. I am very disappointed in President Obama for signing off on this bill and the overt conflict of interest that was involved with this project on many levels.

Dec. 03 2012 12:01 AM
Karen Orlando from Brooklyn, NY

Tracie, There is a lot missing from this story. Quite frankly there was opposition to this project pre-Sandy. In fact there have been questions and concerns ever since NY1 broke the story in February of this year that the legislation which president Obama just signed had passed in the House without the public, park users and advocates knowing anything about it. There are questions about the constructions impact in the ocean. There is the placement of that metering and regulating facility, private industrial infrastructure in a recreational park quite literally on top of the largest community garden in New York City. Thousands of people signed various petitions and wrote letters and postcards to legislators against the bill that gives the secretary of the interior the authority to permit the pipeline right of way under popular Jacob Riis Beach and to allow historic hangars in parkland protected by the National Park Service to be leased to Williams Transco and National Grid for the building and operation of the metering and regulating station. Flooding is not the only issue regarding that metering and regulating station nor potential storms the only question people have been asking about that pipeline route.

Dec. 02 2012 04:34 PM
Peter Capek from Ossining, NY

"built hundreds of miles under the ocean floor"? I don't think so. Even hundreds of feet is hard to imagine, but at least possible. As for what the proposed new line will connect to, where does the existing line exit? Oh, it doesn't exit.

Some really interesting background would be where the existing line runs from and to, and when it was built.

Dec. 02 2012 11:10 AM

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