Trick or Treat, Don’t Let Nat Grid Vaporize Me!

Cooper Park Rally calls on Gov. Hochul and DEC to deny expansion permissions to National Grid

William Vega, a Brooklyn Community Board 1 member, speaks on how North Brooklyn has 163-year history of industrial pollution and it needs to stop.  Photo Credit: @nonbkpipeline Twitter

On October 24th the No NBK Pipeline Coalition and community members took another stand in their ongoing fight to protect the community from National Grid’s efforts to expand their Newtown Creek Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) facility to include proposed LNG vaporizers.  One of their rally chants was, “Trick or Treat DEC don’t let Nat Grid vaporize me.” 

Elisha Fye speaks to the worry of what health issues the National Grid vaporizers could cause. Photo Credit: @nonbkpipeline Twitter

Those assembled publicly called on Governor Kathy Hochul and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to deny National Grid’s permit for these vaporizers stating, “the vaporizers would contribute to the dangerous air quality of the area, adding to decades of environmental racism and pollution, and emitting greenhouse gases furthering the climate crisis.”

Speakers at the rally included Elisha Fye, vice president of the Cooper Park Resident Council, who said, “We’ve been fighting against pollution for sixty years.  The Earth is fighting to breathe, what we really don’t need are more gases polluting the atmosphere. We’re going to have more health issues, which we already have enough of in this community.  Let’s stop it.  Let’s stop it now.”

No NBK Pipeline Coalition and community members chanted “Trick or Treat, Don’t Let Nat Grid Vaporize Me!” at their October 24 march Photo Credit: @nonbkpipeline Twitter

William Vega, a Brooklyn Community Board 1 member, also spoke at the rally.  Referencing Cooper Park’s namesake Peter Cooper and his glue factory, he said, “Since 1858 we have been the victims of the industrialization of this country.  It stops now. Our land is polluted.  Our air is polluted. Our water is polluted and our babies are being born with asthma.  I’m 67 and I want to live longer.” 

According to the Brooklyn Public Library, “By 1899 Newtown Creek had become so gummed up with pollutants that men could walk atop the water as if it were earth.”

Organizers encouraged attendees to sign a petition against the vaporizers that has nearly 5,000 signatures already, and join the gas bill strike against the rate increase for the North Brooklyn Pipeline.

(l to r) Willis Elkins, Newtown Creek Alliance executive director; NYC Council Member Antonio Reynoso (District 34), Assembly Member JoAnne Simon (District 52); Assemblymember Robert Carroll (District 44); NYS Senator Julia Salazar (District 18); NYS Senator Brian Kavanagh (District 26) Photo Credit: @BrianKavanaghNY Twitter

This rally followed one on October 19, held outside of National Grid Headquarters (1 Metrotech Center) NYS Senators Julia Salazar and Brian Kavanagh, Assembly Member Emily Gallagher, and NYC Council Member Antonio Reynoso were among the elected officials present that asked Governor Hochul for a review of the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) approval for National Grid’s gas bill hike.  This action stemmed from a letter that thirty-one elected officials sent to Governor Kathy Hochul a month prior.  The letter requests a review of the the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) approval for National Grid’s gas bill hike.  The rate increase will force downstate customers to pay higher costs for projects many in the community have been fighting against and , “the PSC order continues a legacy of environmental racism and climate denial,” the letter also states.  NYS Senators Brian Kavanagh and Julia Salazar, NYS Assembly Members Maritza Davila and Emily Gallagher, NYC Council Members Stephen Levin and Antonio Reynoso, and District Leaders Emile Bazile, Samuel Nemir Olivares, and Kristina Naplatarski were among those who signed the letter.  More elected officials have added their approval to the review since the letter was sent.

Phase 5, AKA the last and unfinished leg of the North Brooklyn Pipeline.

On October 25, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they would look into a complaint that accused National Grid of breaching the Civil Rights Act by placing the North Brooklyn Pipeline through communities of color and bypassing mostly white neighborhoods.  Phases 1–4 of the pipeline have been completed, the final phase, Phase 5, has been stalled.

Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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