The state delays the decision on the expansion of the national network of the Greenpoint gas facility, again

This is the sixth time the state has postponed a decision on the expansion, which has been criticized by environmentalists as running counter to New York’s climate goals. The DEC says it will wait until the Public Service Commission can review the project.

Liz Donovan

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer joined a 2021 rally in Greenpoint to oppose the National Grid North Brooklyn pipeline project.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has again delayed the schedule for the National Grid permit application related to the controversial Greenpoint Power Project in North Brooklyn.

The timeline for the application, which was set for a decision on May 7, has been put on hold “subject to National Grid initiating and resolving a public proceeding before the New York State Public Utilities Commission.” [PSC] to assess whether the proposed project is demonstrably necessary for reliability purposes,” a DEC spokesperson told City Limits in a statement Sunday night.

This is the sixth time the agency has postponed a decision on the permit, which would allow the utility to expand a facility that converts natural gas that has cooled from a liquid state back to vapor. By cooling natural gas to about -260 degrees Fahrenheit, it reduces its volume 600 times and allows the gas to be easily transported from a pipeline and stored, according to the US Department of Energy. Vaporizers then convert the product back into gas for use in heating and electricity supply to homes.

The Greenpoint facility currently has six vaporizers; National Grid’s request would allow them to add two.

The company says the two new vaporizers are needed to meet the city’s energy needs. He anticipates the PSC review to take three to four months, according to a National Grid spokesperson.

“A decision on this project is critical to ensuring we can serve our existing customers on the coldest days of winter, when they need us most for heating,” the spokesperson said in a statement to City Limits.

But critics argue that adding new infrastructure to support fracked gas is not in line with the state’s aggressive climate legislation, the Community Protection and Climate Leadership Act (CLCPA), which requires the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050.

The permit application was filed in 2019, the same year National Grid began construction on the North Brooklyn Pipeline Project, a seven-mile pipeline stretching from Brownsville to Williamsburg. Pipeline-related protests, supported by then-Mayor Bill de Blasio and former City Comptroller Scott Stringer, led to a joint agreement between National Grid and PSC to stop the project before the completion of its final phase, an expansion to Greenpoint, pending independent review.

Environmentalists, including the No North Brooklyn Pipeline Coalition, which has been a vocal detractor of National Grid’s expansion in the district, have demanded that the state step in to reject the construction of the steamers as well.

“The facility should be removed, not expanded,” the group said in a statement. “Instead, the DEC has sent this decision to the Public Utilities Commission, an agency with a history of allowing National Grid to crush the rights of environmental justice communities and flout climate science.”

In August, the Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to approve a rate increase associated with the pipeline, a decision protested by lawmakers including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Shortly thereafter, Brooklynites filed a federal civil rights complaint against National Grid alleging that the pipeline project negatively and disproportionately impacts communities of color, who face higher-than-average rates of asthma that may be related to highly polluting infrastructure. like highways. , power plants, and waste transfer facilities—concentrated in their neighborhoods.

The Department of Public Service was also named in the lawsuit, which was filed by the New York Law School Civil Rights and Disability Justice Clinic and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, for failing to conduct a proper assessment of How would it affect the project? Black and Latino residents in your vicinity.

In considering the permit related to the vaporizers, the Public Utilities Commission said it will review the reliability needs and assessment that National Grid is required to submit and allow ample opportunity for public review and comment before making a decision.

That ruling will come as state officials consider public comments collected in ongoing hearings related to a preliminary scoping plan to implement the CLCPA and reduce the state’s reliance on natural gas, among other climate law goals.

Some residents near the Brooklyn facility and along the pipeline route say the delayed decision and continued reliance on natural gas is a sign the state is failing to protect them from harmful pollutants.

“My community will not be able to heal or rest until we know that National Grid stops spreading its poison forever,” said Elisha Fye, vice president of Cooper Park Houses, a public housing development directly across the street from National Grid. LNG facility, in a statement related to the DEC decision.

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