Spectra Energy proposes to build an oversized, high-pressure gas pipeline, slated to run up the coast of New Jersey and Staten Island, under the Hudson River, and into a large underground storage vault in downtown Manhattan. Last September, a pipeline of similar size and pressure exploded in suburban San Bruno, CA, with devastating results. The president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 1064 said the ramifications for such an accident in our high-density urban area would be "staggering."
This pipeline will deliver fracked and radioactive Marcellus shale gas, and enable the conversion of New York City's buses, boilers and power plants to methane. It endangers the residents of both urban and rural populations, by increasing the demand to frack in Pennsylvania and upstate New York.
An earlier online petition, plus paper petitions gathered on the streets of New York, garnered more than 3,000 signatures, which were presented to the NY City Council in July, 2011. City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn, is also the representative for the West Village, ground zero for the pipeline. Yet, to date, neither the Speaker nor city council have responded to the wishes of citizens who oppose this pipeline.
Please urge Speaker Quinn to take action to protect the residents of her district and all the citizens of the Marcellus by opposing the Spectra pipeline.
You have previously been presented with more than 2500 paper petitions, as well as a previous change.org petition signed by 435 citizens, requesting a City Council resolution against construction of the proposed Spectra pipeline. Citizens have expressed their opposition to this pipeline, and expect their elected representatives to protect their interests.
I am writing now to urge you, again, to take action: please initiate and pass such a resolution; please take a strong stance against the pipeline in public comment to FERC, before its October 31st deadline, and work to withdraw this project from consideration.
The pipeline is a direct threat to the public health, safety, property values and economy of lower Manhattan, especially the residents of your district in the West Village. It is a larger threat to the public health, safety, property values and economy of the entire Marcellus.
The proposed pipeline will not bring clean energy to New York. As stated in the pipeline application, this pipeline would bring Marcellus shale gas to market. This would encourage further production in gas fields upwind and upstream from New York, with ruinous impact for water and air pollution for both rural and urban populations. Global climate will also suffer, as evidenced by a Cornell study, published April 2011, that documents shale gas as a much more potent emitter of greenhouse gases than even coal or oil.
The pipeline would also, by carrying Marcellus shale gas into New York City kitchens, expose residents to radon, which mixes with the gas at the drill site, and, according to Professor Emeritus of nuclear physics, James Ring, is carried to point of use. The radon risk has been affirmed by, among many other scientists, James Northrup, Al Appleton, and the head of the City Council's Environmental Committee, James Gennaro, a geologist by training. The increased risk of lung cancer to New York City residents must weigh heavily in your choice to protect the health of New Yorkers in all five boroughs and beyond.
Nor would the pipeline enhance the security of New York’s energy supply. The result will be that New York will be more, not less dependent on volatile supplies and prices of fossil fuels. A vast network of pipelines and export facilities will enable natural gas to seek the highest global bidder from hungry emerging markets in India and Asia. Sustainable sources like wind, tide and solar, on the other hand, will not be subject to such price competition.
For all the cost, insecurity and environmental destruction resulting from investing in gas infrastructure, the supply would be short-lived. Recent recalculations have reduced the projected reserves by 80%. Continuing to invest in fossil energy is incompatible with the future of New York City.
The pipeline is unnecessary and wrongly invests in fossil fuel infrastructure when New York City can and should be investing in sustainable energy infrastructure. Better options and technologies are available today. New York City can lead the nation by choosing renewables and conservation. The city should not compromise its future by replacing one polluting fossil fuel with another. I urge you to pass a resolution against the construction of this pipeline and to file your opposition with FERC as a public comment ASAP.