Measure Allowing For Pipeline Was Approved Last Year

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Opponents protested Sunday against a planned natural gas pipeline that would pass through Brooklyn and the Rockaways.

The three-mile pipeline would run from the Atlantic Ocean beneath Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways and under Jamaica Bay to Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field. A measure allowing its construction was signed into law by President Barack Obama last year.

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Opponents said while the project is now under review by federal regulators, National Grid has already placed pipes on the ground and is ready to bury them.

The opponents, including Occupy the Pipeline, the Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline, and the Occupy Wall Street-Environmental Solidarity Working Group, expressed concern about a “potential for disaster.” The groups said there were 80 explosions and fires along natural gas pipelines last year.

The groups also claimed the pipeline has a potential to bring destruction to an area that was already ravaged by Superstorm Sandy. They said the metering and regulator station for the project would be in an old airplane hangar at Floyd Bennett Field that is located 16 feet above sea level – only two feet higher than the storm surge from Sandy reached.

“This area was affected terribly by the hurricane,” J.K. Canepa of the New York Climate Action Group said in a news release. “Risking so many lives to fatten a pipeline company’s pockets is unacceptable.”

The groups also complained that the pipeline is yet another piece of infrastructure for fossil fuel, when renewable energy should be the focus.

Protesters stood along busy Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn Sunday to voice their opposition.

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The pipeline does have strong backers. U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, said last November that the pipeline could bring as much as $265 million in revenue and create about 300 construction jobs.

In a statement in November, Grimm called the project an important economic boost to the region in the aftermath of Sandy.

The current pipeline system serving Brooklyn and Queens was built 40 to 60 years ago and can no longer meet current demand, Grimm said in November.

According to Grimm, the planned route will avoid residential, commercial and environmentally sensitive areas.

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