NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — You can add a Long Island firehouse to the list of pipeline pawns that have been denied a hook-up to natural gas by National Grid.
CBS2’s Marcia Kramer has been reporting on the problem for several weeks.
Now, a state senator wants the controversial pipeline approved.
On Thursday, Kramer again sought an interview with John Bruckner, the president of New York operations for National Grid, because, well, the two of them have a lot to talk about.
Like the latest pipeline pawn, the Seaford Fire Department, which badly needs to upgrade its generator. National Grid reportedly said no.
“When you get to the point where we’re going to endanger the safety of the people by taking emergency responsibilities and saying you can’t upgrade? No, you can’t go that route,” Sen. John Brooks said.
Brooks, a Democrat, said Seaford isn’t the only fire company complaining to him, adding gas supply is critical.
“These fire departments during a hurricane or an emergency need to generate their own power so they can maintain an operation in terms of the radio equipment,” Brooks said.
So Brooks and five other Long Island senators reluctantly did what National Grid has been angling for, sending a letter to the state Department of Conservation to approve a controversial new gas pipeline, one the agency has twice rejected on environmental grounds.
National Grid’s response to angry customers has been call your elected officials if you want us to end our gas moratorium.
More than 2,600 homeowners and businesses have been told no gas until the pipeline gets the green light. The company has a monopoly to supply gas in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island.
“Every night, I cannot sleep. I think about the restaurant, no gas and my dream, my future, gone,” said Peter Lee, who has been unable to open his Bensonhurst restaurant.
“I’ve been a hostage now for three months,” Coney Island store owner Magda Perez added.
Kramer asked Brooks the question Gov. Andrew Cuomo has asked the state Department of Public Service to investigate: “Do you think there’s a shortage?”
“Personally? No,” Brooks said.
Brooks said if the state determines there is no real shortage, the company should face hefty fines.
Since CBS2 started demanding answers about National Grid, the Department of Public Service has found that the company improperly denied gas to 32 homes and apartments.
National Grid did not respond to a request for an interview or emailed requests for comment.