The Gotham Gazette once again took a good hard look at the Rockaway Pipeline Project, this time from a post-hurricane Sandy perspective. It's been an interesting week in news coverage on the project. Now that the bill that will allow for the pipeline right of way through the beach and the metering and regulating station to be built in the park if the project is approved was signed into law by President Obama, it seems some major news outlets decided it was finally time to report on the story. Many of course simply just cut and pasted press releases by the mayor or Michael Grimm or AP stories. Some did not mention Gateway National Recreation Area, Jacob Riis or Floyd Bennett Field at all, simply referring to the pipeline route as through certain sections of Queens and Brooklyn. Since I studied journalism before falling in love with plants, the way the story of this pipeline and metering station has been covered frustrates me. That kind of reporting fails journalism's fundamental role to inform the public about the issues of the day. It's comforting to see then the kind of reporting that doesn't just gloss over the issues like the kind done in that Gotham Gazette artice. (and I'm not just saying that because I managed to get in the piece at the very end.)
There are a lot of questions that have yet to be answered about the Rockaway Pipeline project and its accompanying Brooklyn Queens Interconnect Pipeline project. For me one of them is why has one of the most ecologically important regions in Brooklyn and Queens been the choice for where this pipe will be laid and who got input on that decision and oversight of the process? I know that park users didn't. And I know from my experience gardening at Floyd Bennett Field that this park is not just an old airport with decrepit buildings. It may not be what it was promised to be when Gateway National Recreation Area came into being 40 years ago, but it is a link in this larger park and it has a purpose and a function that has nothing at all to with providing Brooklyn and Queens natural gas.
The Marine Parkway Bridge-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, as seen from above, with Floyd Bennett Field across the Rockaway Inlet and the new route of natural gas pipelines under the bridgePhoto: Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin (click on picture or here for MTA flickr page)