Image courtesy nonbkpipeline.org
Sep 1, 2021
Activists take the North Brooklyn pipeline fight to the Biden administration
Community leaders highlight the proposed pipeline’s disproportionate impacts on people of color
A coalition of Brooklyn community leaders have sent a petition to a number of federal agencies to investigate National Grid’s “Metropolitan Reliability Infrastructure Project,” the latest move in an ongoing effort to halt the construction of a 7-mile-long pipeline that would carry fracked gas through the predominantly Black and brown neighborhoods of Brownsville, Bed-Stuy, Bushwick and Williamsburg.
The letter was sent to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice, among other agencies, accusing National Grid of failing to notify and educate the public about the pipeline, as required by law.
Construction on the pipeline began in 2017 and has been completed in four phases between Brownsville and East Williamsburg. The final segment, which extends into Northern Greenpoint, is awaiting completion.
The petition—filed on behalf of Brownsville Green Justice, the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Coalition of Young Professionals, Mi Casa Resiste, and the Indigenous Kinship Collective—demands that federal authorities stop the flow of gas in phases one through four of the pipeline, and argues National Grid misled local residents, bypassed federal and state pipeline and safety laws, and violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The complaint further alleges that both New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) failed to conduct proper environmental analysis and are complicit in these discriminatory violations.
“New York State’s and National Grid’s failure to consider the pipeline’s disproportionate impacts on people of color, and to enforce fundamental safety and environmental rules enforced in white communities, violates Title VI,” said Anjana Malhotra, senior attorney at the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, in a statement. “This pipeline continues the illegal and unjust history of dumping toxic infrastructure in Black and Brown communities that Title VI was enacted to prevent.”
Since 2019, community members and local elected officials have been pushing back against National Grid’s pipeline expansion. The formal complaint reflects a yearlong effort by activists to protect the health and safety of vulnerable communities in Brooklyn.
“This pipeline is just another example of how communities of color that have historically borne the burden of environmental racism continue to pay the price,” said Fabian Rogers, a Brownsville resident and member of the Brownsville Green Justice group, according to a New York Daily News report. “The only solution to this current problem is to stop the flow of the gas.”
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