And their proposed rate hikes.
When it comes to environmental justice, local electeds and community activists aren’t going down without a fight.
On September 14, it was announced that NYC Council Members Jennifer Gutiérrez and Lincoln Restler are leading a resolution against National Grid’s construction of gas vaporizers. This resolution aims to protect North Brooklyn residents from potential harm to their health and the environment that these vaporizers may cause. It intends to be a stepping stone to the goal of fully blocking the construction at the Newtown Creek plant.
“It is unconscionable to be building more infrastructure in these communities, and raise rates for consumers, for harmful projects that literally violate the environmental justice provisions of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act by increasing emissions in one of the most polluted communities in the country,” said Gutiérrez, the legislation’s prime sponsor.
If the resolution is passed, it would urge the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to deny National Grid the permits they need to go through with the plan. It would also push the Public Service Commission to stop the hikes of gas bills for National Grid customers.
If the construction for new gas vaporizers isn’t prevented, the damaging effects could take a toll on neighborhoods where residents are vulnerable to health problems and made up of seventy percent of people of color including Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and Ridgewood.
So far, the resolution has been sponsored by fourteen council members and is backed by several others including Democratic nominee for New York Senate District 59, Kristen Gonzalez.
Two public hearings on the matter were held on September 20 and 21 where voices of the community were heard.
At one hearing, Elisha Fye, Cooper Park Resident Council Vice President said: “These vaporizers are harming this community. I’ve been here for 68 years and I’ve watched so many people occur medical conditions. There’s other ways you can make money without harming us.”
Margot Spindelman, a Greenpoint resident and No North Brooklyn Pipeline Coalition member, said she is one of hundreds of National Grid customers who “had no choice” but to refuse to pay for the North Brooklyn Pipeline.
“Today is the day that we must end all new fossil fuel infrastructure,” said Restler. “I strongly oppose National Grid’s plan to build two new vaporizers at the Newtown Creek facility.”
If you want to provide your feedback on National Grid’s plans, public comment is open until November 14. To comment by phone, call 1-800-335-2120 at any time of the day. To submit online, visit dps.ny.gov and search for the case number “19-G-0309” or “19-G-0310” then click the “post comments” button.