Thursday, February 23, 2012

Something to Do When You're Finished Following a Proposed Pipeline

Butterfly weed growing along bike path Flatbush Ave near Floyd Bennett Field

If you want to follow the path of a pipeline project through Brooklyn and Queens (or rather two projects, there is a National Grid component and a Williams Transco component) that has gotten little attention in the news or little public outreach by the companies that intend to build it, you're going to have to familiarize yourself with FERC's elibrary. (this particular's project prefile number is PF09-8)

Over the past week I've waded through documents dating back to early 2009 in an effort to find out how hangars at Floyd Bennett Field came to be the site of the proposed metering and regulating station attached to this project. In the earliest planning stages of this project, both Williams and NPS (National Park Service) preferred that the station be built outside of park land because of its industrial nature. I've got a time frame narrowed down, but still no definitive answers about why. (Restoring the facade of historic hangars only to use them to house new industrial infrastructure isn't quite a good enough reason for me as a park user. I fail to see any real benefit to the public.) Only in paperwork dated March, 2011 is there an indication that Williams had come to some kind of agreement with parks about locating the facility on park land. In late May of the previous year, NPS was still indicating that the M & R station needed to be housed outside of park property. That's pretty late in the game and only several months before legislation was introduced in Congress that may potentially allow this new industrial use on park land, but it's still almost a year before news of this intended industrial development reached the public at all via a NY1 story. And while Williams is ultimately responsible for outreach to the public regarding this project, NPS is the government arm responsible for preserving and protecting Floyd Bennett Field and Gateway National Recreation Area for the people.

Is a proposed metering and regulating station at Floyd Bennett Field mentioned in Gateway's State of the Park's report for 2011? No. But the report does state that Gateway will be reaching out to the public in 2012 concerning revisions to their General Management Plan and asking the public what the core mission of the park should be. Perhaps legislators in Washington should wait for the public to give voice and input about new industrialized use in Floyd Bennett Field at a public meeting in 2012 before enacting legislation that will make it possible.

I'm not waiting for a public meeting (with dates yet to be announced) to have my voice heard. I've already written my New York State senators (Schumer here and Gillibrand here) telling them I don't support this bill and I don't support this use of NPS land. I don't expect that my voice will mean much alone but there are a lot of people with love for this area so perhaps eventually as people actually hear about this proposed project, it will become part of a chorus.

Links to posts on this project:
All posts on this project:
Following the Path of a Pipeline
Following the Path of a Pipeline (take two)
Following The Path of a Pipeline (take three)
NYC Beach (in the sand and proposed gas pipeline construction below)

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