This week President Obama signed HR2606, the bill that does two things. 1. It gives the Secretary of the Interior the authorization to allow permits for a natural gas pipeline right of way under Jacob Riis beach in the Rockaways, Queens. 2. It also gives the Secretary of the Interior the power to allow a metering and regulating station, an indstrial facility, to be built in Floyd Bennett Field, which is a park that is part of the larger park, Gateway National Recreation Area. Now I know that there are plenty of NYC citizens who have signed petitions and written letters against this bill. I also know that too often in the news, the alienation of a part of this park and the introduction of this private industrial use of the park, the very large metering and regulating facility is completely left out.
Floyd Bennett field is currently the site of FEMA operations, a resource for neighborhoods impacted by Hurricane Sandy, but in its regular life, it is also a resource. It is a park used by kayakers, birders, cyclists, campers, high school football teams, families and the largest single group of communty gardeners in New York City. The current proposed site for this most likely precedent setting metering and regulating station is historic hangars a few hundred feet from that community garden at the Gateway of this park that Senator Schumer once said could be the crown jewel of NYC parks. There is a lot to consider when following the story of the rockcaway lateral pipeline and its accompanying project the Brooklyn Queens Interconnect. But one of the important things is the story of how this alienation of part of this park and the introduction of industrial infrastructure that will be wholly outside the park's purpose came to be. And it did not come to be so through a democratic process that included citizens and park users in any way.
Just one of the hundreds of postcards Joe collected from park users and NYC citizens against HR2606. Want to know how many people testified in support of the bill? It's three.
More posts on Rockaway Pipeline through Gateway National Recreation Area, HR2606 and the metering and regulating station in the park at Floyd Bennett Field here