Activists from 350.org and Sane Energy Project staged a civil disobedience action on Jay Street yesterday, blocking the offices of National Grid over their support of the AIM Pipeline, bringing fracked gas to NYC.
Brooklyn, NY - Concerned New Yorkers blocked the doors of National Grid’s downtown Brooklyn office at noon on Monday, August 29 to protest their support of Spectra Energy’s AIM Pipeline, a high-pressure methane gas pipeline that will bring fracked gas from Pennsylvania to New England. Members of 350Brooklyn.org, 350NYC.org, and ResistAIM came together to demand that National Grid end their contract agreement with Spectra Energy. The pipeline’s route runs 105 feet from infrastructure critical to the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in New York’s Westchester County. "National Grid is risking the safety of the 17 million people who live within 50 miles of the aging Indian Point reactor so it can sell gas in other parts of the country and the world," says Mimi Bluestone of 350Brooklyn, one of eight people arrested as part of the day’s action. "Our governor and our US senators have called on the federal government to withdraw its authorization for this pipeline. But without National Grid's end-of-pipeline agreement to buy this gas, the project could not be economically viable."
Both elected officials and local residents have repeatedly raised concerns about the pipeline’s safety. This past February, Governor Andrew Cuomo asked the pipeline’s builder, Spectra Energy Corp of Texas, to suspend the project pending an independent safety analysis. “The safety of New Yorkers is the first responsibility of state government," Cuomo said in making the request. In May, New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has jurisdiction over the pipeline, to halt construction pending such a study. Spectra Energy and FERC have denied the governor’s and the senators’ requests.
The AIM (Algonquin Incremental Market) pipeline is designed solely to deliver natural gas to New England; New York is simply a “pass through” state. The pipeline will enter New York in Rockland County, pass under the Hudson River, and then cross Westchester County en route to Connecticut. Built in the 1970s, Indian Point Nuclear Power complex remains active and contains decades of spent radioactive nuclear fuel, while over 17 million people live within 50 miles of Indian Point. National Grid, a British multinational, expanded into the United States beginning in 2000 by buying a number of local utilities in New England and New York, including the successor to Brooklyn Union Gas. It is a major potential customer for the natural gas that the AIM pipeline would transport to New England and so has the power to determine the financial viability of this project. Last week, National Grid withdrew its petition for a 20-year contract on Spectra’s Access Northeast project; however, National Grid is still expected to purchase gas flowing through the AIM Pipeline and so activists in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York are continuing to call on National Grid to #CanceltheContract.
The AIM pipeline is scheduled to be completed in November 2016, which calls for immediate action. On Monday evening, following the arrests at National Grid, concerned New Yorkers are gathering at the Brooklyn home of Senator Charles Schumer to encourage him to stand with New Yorkers by making a public appearance to denounce the pipeline and calling for a Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission - more details can be found HERE .
350.org is a national organization working to keep carbon in the ground and to build a new, more equitable low-carbon economy. Its affiliates like 350NYC and 350Brooklyn work on local issues related to climate change. ResistAIM is a coalition of environmental advocates, Westchester residents and concerned New Yorkers that have been taking nonviolent direct action to stop the AIM Pipeline since November 2015.
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A map of the AIM pipeline’s route: http://www.spectraenergy.com/Operations/US-Natural-Gas-Operations/New-Projects-US/Algonquin-Incremental-Market-AIM-Project/
A map of the pipeline’s proximity to the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant:
For Cuomo’s position: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-29/cuomo-seeks-halt-of-spectra-algonquin-gas-line-for-safety-review
For Senator Gillibrand and Schumer’s position: https://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/schumer-gillibrand-urge-ferc-to-suspend-construction-on-aim-pipeline-expansion-until-independent-health-and-safety-studies-are-conducted
For 350NYC: https://350nyc.org/
For 350Brooklyn: http://350brooklyn.org/
For ResistAIM: www.resistaim.com