December 29, 2013
Ten Things You Need to Know About the Rockaway Pipeline
The public has until Monday, December 9th to submit comments regarding a draft environmental impact statement prepared by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
- The Rockaway pipeline project will connect Brooklyn and Queens to an existing natural gas pipeline 2.5 miles off the Rockaway coast, the Transco pipeline. The project actually consists of three separate sections of pipeline.
- Natural gas delivered via the Transco pipeline originates from a variety of locations, including Canada, Shale areas in Pennsylvania, Arkansas, and overseas.
- Oklahoma-based Williams Companies will build a 3.17 mile branch from its Transco pipeline, traveling along the ocean floor toward the Rockaway coastline, and then under Jacob Riis Park.
- Williams’ ocean floor pipeline will then connect with two 5,500 foot lines crossing under Jamaica Bay and into Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. National Grid has already completed construction of these lines.
- Williams will construct a 60,000 square foot meter and regulating facility within a historic, unused hanger at Floyd Bennett Field as part of the project. National Grid will also construct a 16,200 foot section of pipeline, running from the m & r station to an existing gas line, which currently terminates at Avenue U and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn.
- Much of the project takes place in the 26,000-acre Gateway National Recreation Area. The city says the Jamaica Bay area is an “integral part of the larger, regional ecosystem” and that it hosts over 325 species of birds and 50 species of butterflies. The Bay’s 18,000-acre wetland estuary is described as the “jewel in the crown” of the national and city park systems.
- During the environmental review of Williams’ section of the project, some federal and state agencies, along with environmental groups, have raised concerns about the pipeline’s impact on marine life off the Rockaway coast, along with the danger posed by future catastrophic storms and flooding to the meter and regulating station.
- National Grid says that over the next five years, demand for natural gas in its NYC service area is forecasted to increase 15 percent, representing an additional 25,000 residential, commercial, industrial and multifamily customers.
- Adding to the demand for natural gas, the city has passed regulations that call for replacing pollution-generating heavy heating oils used in buildings with substantially cleaner fuels by 2030. Policymakers expect that natural gas will be among the most attractive options because of its low cost and decreased emissions.
- National Grid’s sections of the project were not subject to a full-scale environmental review or public input process. Williams’ sections have undergone a lengthy environmental review.
Photo credit: Williams Co.