Southern Brooklyn

Activists Blast Jamaica Bay Natural Gas Pipeline, Say Government Kept Them In The Dark

The approximate location of the proposed natural gas pipeline.

After the House of Representatives passed a bill last week approving the construction of a three-mile gas pipeline, running underneath Jamaica Bay through Brooklyn and Queens, environmentalists and local leaders are outraged, claiming they were kept in the dark about it.

“It was done behind the public’s back,” said Ida Sanoff, Chairperson of the Natural Resources Protective Association.


What Is The Pipeline, Where Will It Be, And Why Is It Important?

The construction efforts for the Gateway Pipeline project are part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2007 PlaNYC initiative, which sets out, among other goals, to create cleaner energy for the future of the city.

The new natural gas artery would connect to a natural gas pipeline in the Atlantic Ocean that runs from the Gulf Coast to New York. It would run undereath Gateway Recreation Area in Jamaica Bay with a metering station at Floyd Bennett Field, before going further into Brooklyn.

Since the plan requires tunneling underneath federal property, it needs federal approval. Sponsored by Congressman Michael Grimm, the New York City Natural Gas Supply Enhancement Act gives the House’s required stamp or approval. It will now move to the Senate.

Grimm claims that the project will be beneficial to the economy, as it will generate about $265 million in construction activity, which will lead to almost 300 local jobs. The city is also touting its environmental benefits, since natural gas is domestically produced, cheaper and cleaner than alternatives.


So What’s The Problem?

The proponents might be pushing the benefits, but environmentalists fear it could be detrimental to the park’s habitat.

It’s not quite clear whether or not the project poses a risk to the environment or not. On the one hand, the plan states that the pipeline will be buried so deeply underneath the ground that it won’t disturb the habitat.

“Where the pipe will be laid out in the ocean will require that it be ‘trenched’ into the ocean floor,” explained Daniel Mundy, Sr., president of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers. Mundy said that the bottom of Jamaica Bay should not be adversely affected, as the pipe will be placed using horizontal drilling.

“It will be ‘tunneled’ under the bay bottom and therefore not require that the bay bottom, which is important habitat, be destroyed,” he said.

However, the government agencies involved in the planning have not been transparent in their efforts, and key stakeholders said they’re lacking the information they need to contribute thoughtful input.

That, the activists say, has ensured that the government can move forward without the plan being subjected to scrutiny or criticism.


Activists Demand A Say

When NY1 reported on Grimm’s bill earlier this month, they noted that the project received little opposition compared to other pipeline projects in the works. But leaders explained that the project didn’t receive negative criticism because the elected officials didn’t give them a chance to discuss the plan.

“Of course there was no criticism, nobody knew about it!” said Sanoff, angered that the elected officials and the National Parks Service failed to inform the public. “They didn’t want any criticism … And you don’t get any criticism, if nobody knows what’s going on.”

Sanoff said that it is “horrible that this was done behind everybody’s back,” and both Sanoff and Mundy are concerned about future projects quietly slipping past the public and into the House of Representatives.

“There was no ability on the part of the National Parks Service to bring environmental groups and stakeholders up to speed on this. No public announcement or public comment period or meetings,” said Mundy.

“This is especially troubling as it makes one concerned of other plans that may be developed in the future for the lands or waters of our national park and whether the public will have a say.”

The congressmembers Bob Turner and Michael Grimm did not respond to comment and a spokesperson for the National Parks Service refused to comment “until everything passes complete legislature.”

“The government agencies want the public to trust them. They always say that they are working with the public ‘We want you to trust us and trust our judgment.’ But this does not encourage trust and it does not encourage cooperation and if anything, it encourages an adversarial relationship,” said Sanoff.

Senator Charles Schumer is currently reviewing the bill.

If the project receives federal approval without concerning the public then stakeholders will be outraged.

“If they think that this is the way that they can deal with the public down here then they are in for a big surprise … they better think twice,” said Sanoff.

Comment policy


  1. Looking at the image, it implies that the pipeline currently bypasses all of NYC. Is this true? How does Brooklyn get it’s natural gas now? 

  2. I’d like to see a map of ALL the piplines, electric cable, telephone cables etc in the area covered. I can understand the stackholders outrage as not being part of the process (OTOH – why give authority to any agency to make decisions if everybody has to agree beforhand before anything is done or planned?) But I have yet to hear that this is a terribly damaging development.

  3. Why am I supporting the end of Keystone XL which effects Texas? Where’s the petitions for this pipeline in my own backyard?

  4. The activists are expressing concern about the ocean ecosystem but what about the ecosystem known as Marine Park. I’d like to know how this will impact the homes along the pipeline route.

  5.  I have another concern that I would like to mention, the current move by US to “switch” to natural gas is very alarming.
    Yes USA has great deposits of natural gas but (and it’s a big but) it’s spread in the ground in shale deposits and conventional drilling was never a good option (that is why for decades no one bothered to get it out of the ground). So here comes fracking. Fracking is a method to get those gas deposits by pumping water AND special blend of chemicals in the ground. That mixture cracks the soil and releases natural gas. The part that bothers some people is what kind of chemicals are being pumped in to the ground with that water. Well the answer is…. none of your fucking business! Fracking companies are not obligated to disclose that information and government does not regulate fracking related chemicals. 

    So, why should you give a shit about any of this? It’s simple actually, Marcellus Shale has huge deposits of that natural gas and fracking is the only way to get it. Marcellus Shale while passing through multiple states also happens to run through upstate NY very close to where NYC gets it fantastically clean (for now) water. Fracking without a question or doubt will impact the quality of water not only in NYS but in NYC.

    Natural gas is nice alternative solution to foreign oil but keep in mind this, big energy companies are not fracking to make America great, they are fracking to get rich and doing it safely will cost them too much. Strict regulations must be enforced. So please don’t think before endorsing any natural gas related projects. We all know energy companies are not be trusted to self regulate when it comes to environment. I understand when you do not give a shit about some pipeline in Alaska or Texas, natural disasters in those places will have minimal impact on your life. However 1 and just 1 fuckup during fracking in upstate NY can fuck up your quality of life.
    I’m no hippie or earth peace and love guy but I sure as hell don’t trust energy company when it comes to keeping my water and soil clean.

  6. People please, how do think we supply our energy needs. Many of these same environmentalists are also against nuclear energy. Just how do you propose to keep the lights on; not to mention your computers.

  7. Nice talking point, let’s discredit the environmentalists instead of talking the merits or detriments of this gas pipeline and overlook the potential environmental impacts this may cause, not to mention the environmental impacts of the process to produce this “clean” natural gas. If you seriously think that the only way to produce power is to burn natural gas or fossil fuels you’re sorely mistaken. The opinions some of these people have on nuclear power is irrelevant to this conversation because there’s plenty that consider nuclear power a great idea if implemented correctly, such as myself. I consider potential ground water pollution and disruption the natural lands by a natural gas pipeline to be more heinous than paying an extra penny per kWh.

    The U.S. has already approved 2 new nuclear plants in GA, the first in 3 decades, and although I worry that it’s not a modern reactor design (LTFR/MSR) but rather an updated version of old designs (gravity fed coolant to prevent Fukushima style events) I’m glad to see the gov’t show initiative. Natural gas and this pipeline are then clearly short term plans which can have long term environmental impacts in our own back yard as well the entire country. For the city to not have open discussion about it is egregiously insulting to the people they serve.

  8. I can’t help but notice that you have not answered the question of where are we going to get our energy/electricity. Could you answer the question?

  9. We’re getting 30% from nuclear, 23% gas and oil, 13% coal, 18% hydroelectric, and 12% natural gas. The trend has been decreasing the gas and oil and replacing it with natural gas in the last 5-7 years because natural gas availability has increased at the expense of the environment. Increasing our nuclear output with new generators such as Liquid thorium fluoride reactors as well as investing in wind/thermal/solar would meet our demands but the current supply with no change would meet power demands for the next decade. That means this pipeline is built to meet energy demands that might exist over 10 years from now and during that time we can build power sources that don’t put our environment at risk.

    Almost any building over 6 stories can probably get 5% of its power from wind since there is an almost constant turbulent updraft along side the building which can be captured by wind turbines; I’ve personally toyed with the idea in the past but haven’t designed it beyond conceptual sketches.

  10. Where after Indian Point is closed, do we locate nuclear plants; since you seem to favor it.

    wind/thermal/solar ? Will not come close to supplying our needs (wants), anytime soon.

  11. Mike you are being silly. No one said we don’t want/need energy. We just don’t want it at expense of clean water. Don’t you like clean water? You need to travel more Mike. Visit Asia or Africa, clean water is great commodity to have. If you don’t believe me just stop any Indian immigrant and ask him how important clean water is. Forget going that far do you know how terrible water quality is in South America? Even Mexico has terrible water.
    We are incredibly lucky in NYC, our water is safe and fantastic but like I said before it can be gone with just one industrial accident.
    Mike you have agree that letting fracking companies to make sure no harm is done is a bad idea.

  12. The question is, where do you get it.  You do not answer the questions!

    Of course water must be protected. I believe our watersheds are off limits.

     I’ve traveled and I know how lucky we are. More than just luck has been involved however.

    I don’t think you have any idea how  petroleum/natural gas have contributed to what we all have enjoyed in this country. Not picking on you. A lot of people. It’s taken for granted. 

    This pipeline would connect to a pipeline that runs from the gulf coast, where does it threaten our water?

  13. Yeah,,, and the bridge will cave in because they forgot to check.   Be very careful of your shadow, because your are probably afraid of that too.

  14. By marching people like you and me to the top of a pyramid and cutting our hearts out while we watch and they cheer.

  15. Yeah they approved the nuke plants and they started building already right???  I have a bridge I would like to sell you… Maybe you should change your name to gullible.  And the pipe line out in the ocean was a short term plan too…. Grow up.

  16. I live in Rockaway and I can say Inam appaled at how this wasnt made public in any sense of the word. Before this gets through I hope we can learn about the adverse effects that will haopen to Gateway National Park. That place is beautiful with a diverse ecosystem and no one wants to see it destroyed. Also I don’t think most people in Breezy Point are too happy about this.

  17. You’re misreading the amount of concern in my statement. I’m curious because I find stuff like this fascinating, not because I’m afraid the bridge will fall down.

  18. Thank, goodness. Someone with a brain that can explain the reality. What will happen when we have a major explosion along this pipeline? What about all the emissions, or God forbid, an explosion from the proposed metering and regulating station at Floyd Bennett Field, where tons of children do sports activities every day?


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