Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Rockaway Pipeline Missing from yet another Port Ambrose LNG map

Not only do all the maps Liberty Natural Gas LLC provides on the Port Ambrose Deepwater Port leave out the Rockaway Lateral Project, so does all the news coverage or editorials on it.

I wouldn't call this a conspiracy exactly as that would sound a little crazy, but it is a very collaborative effort to say the least. I could make a very long list of folks appearing to willfully ignore the connection between the Rockaway Pipeline project and the Port Ambrose projects, which includes not only the companies themselves, but astonishingly to me,  politicians and activists supposedly opposed to either or both projects now as well.  The deliberate choice to instead describe this port in connection to export or fracking  appears to be politically motivated or at best the product of well intended but misguided activism.

But perhaps the most astonishing part is that people pretending to educate on this project are responsable for this. Who are they? I could name names pretty easily. But instead I will just name the groups.

Occupy the Pipeline  who seem to find this project to be merely a piece of their theatre
Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline who just seem confused.
Sane Energy Project who cannot distinguish this pipeline from any other.

The nutshell? Even if I did name names the list would not be that long as these are by and large all the same people anyway. The sad thing is that while thousands of regular people were reached by Joe and who expressed their opposition to both the bill that would enable this project and other issues, it is this small group of people with revolving names, who do not represent those regular people, who have been dominating what the message on this project is.

Tags: Rockaway Pipeline, Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline, Sane Energy, Occupy the Pipeline

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Little Known Facts about the Rockaway Lateral Project

1. A draft EIS was issued not for the Rockaway Project alone, but rather for two projects, the Rockaway Lateral and Northeast Connector projects. The title of the draft EIS states this clearly.

2.The Rockaway Lateral Project and the Northeast Connector are only in small part about increased supplies of gas as even FERC clearly states in the draft EIS for these projects.

3. Of recently approved or proposed expansions into the New York City area, (already approved and running as of late 2013, both Spectra's expansion and Williams other expansion, which combined provide over 1 billion cubic feet of new capacity) the Rockaway Lateral plus Northeast Connector are the projects that provide the least amount of incremental gas supply into NYC.

3. Or as FERC puts it:  "According to Transco, the Projects would ...:
 provide firm delivery lateral service of 647 thousand dekatherms per day (Mdth/d) of
natural gas to National Grid’s distribution system on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens
County, New York through the Rockaway Project;
 provide as part of the 647 Mdth/d, 100 Mdth/d of new incremental (i.e., additional)
natural gas supply to National Grid through the Northeast Connector Project; and
 enhance the security and reliability of National Grid’s distribution system by providing
a new delivery point on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens County that would allow
National Grid to shift existing volumes of natural gas supply from an existing delivery
point in Long Beach in Nassau County, New York.

4. Every resource report for the Rockaway Lateral project alone said the rockaway lateral would provide 647 mdth/d, 100 Mdth/d of new incremental (ie additional) natural gas supply and yet the draft EIS for the Rockaway Lateral and Northeast connector provide exactly what Transco claimed the Rockaway Lateral alone was providing. Did Transco give any information about the Northeast Connector in their 7c application? Nah. Should they have? According to these regulations, the answer appears to be yes.

5. The Rockaway project and Northeast Connector are according to FERC 85% about redistributing existing supplies. Or specifically as they say" We note that a small portion (about 15 percent by volume) of the natural gas to be provided by the Projects to National Grid is incremental (i.e., additional).The majority (about 85 percent by volume) is replacement gas, which currently is provided to National Grid via the existing delivery point in Long Beach." According to Williams this redistribution will occur during peak demand periods.

6. Coincidentally, Port Ambrose is a deepwater port project which aims to deliver imported gas that is converted from liquid to gas  into the exact same 26 inch pipe that the Rockaway Lateral is being built off. And coincidentally of course,that project is also described specifically for peak periods. The MAOP (960 psi), diameter (26 inches) for the existing New York Lower Bay Lateral, the Rockaway Lateral expansion and the new pipeline that is part of Port Ambrose project are all the same dimensions.

7. The Port Ambrose application predates the Rockaway Lateral formal 7C application by more than three months. Yet Transco claimed to have no knowledge of any potential tie-ins to their existing lateral by LNG companies when they submitted their application in January 2013. Does it seem likely from how Port Ambrose describes their project that it can be built as described without the Rockaway Lateral Project? Not without some serious alteration to Williams and National Grid's existing infrastructure it doesn't.

8. Is above ground infrastructure like this metering and regulating station which is about the size of a football field typically placed in parks or recreation areas? Nah not according to these federal regulations. In historic hangars in a federal park as an adaptive reuse and supposed park improvement? Probably a first.

The rockaway project was complicated when it just involved Williams expansion, National Grid's BQI and a bill. The project was in pre-file an extraordinarily long time and there is still 4 and half years later information on the environmental effect of the HDD exit pit that is outstanding and a lot of confusion about what it does or doesn't do. Nearly two weeks after a draft EIS that is the size of a large telephone book in print was released, Williams revealed that agencies had been in discussion on an entirely new construction time frame for the work at Riis and offshore. The new time frame? Memorial Day through Labor Day or here on the east coast what is known as prime beach season.

Has this project been accurately described by activists or covered properly in the news? Not by a long shot. Think you will read any of this somewhere else? Nah. With the exception that is of the FERC docket for the project. (CP13-36).

Top Sites for Misinformation on Rockaway Pipeline (Sane Energy Project and Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline)

Image from postcard letter writing campaign against HR2606 run by Joe. He was told by self-appointed leaders at the Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline that doing a letter writing campaign at the same time as a petition was impossible.

When I began researching and writing about the Rockaway Pipeline more than a year and half ago, I could never have predicted that the top sites for misinformation on the Rockaway Pipeline project would be activist sites.  Yet, the top sites for misinformation on the Rockaway Pipeline, which happen to also be the first two sites that come up on a google search on the project, are the Sane Energy Project and the Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline. Although I wouldn't have been able to predict this in winter of 2012,  after meeting and working with the activists that run both these sites last summer, it became clear to me incredibly quickly that the people in these groups were primarily interested not in first learning anything about this project and then educating people, but instead favored a strategy of mostly fabricating information about it.  Where does Sane Energy and the Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline get the information they put out on their website and flyers when much of it cannot be found in any of the paperwork on the project found in the FERC docket for this project (probably tens of thousands of pages and counting). Answer? In large part, they mostly either make it up or distort facts so far that they become unrecognizable. What empowers these activists to feel entitled to lie? Only their belief that they are engaged in a just war against either fracking or all fossil fuels and that everything and anything at all is fair in that war. The casualty? As ever, in any war the first casualty is the truth.

Friday, November 8, 2013

US Coast Guard Seeks Information on Existing Capacity of New York Lower Bay Lateral for Port Ambrose LNG project review

No matter how many maps Liberty Natural Gas LLC provides for their proposed LNG port and pipeline project offshore, they never fail to leave out the Rockaway Lateral Pipeline expansion

I have seen a lot of maps now on the proposed Port Ambrose Deepwater LNG project, but I have yet to see one that displays the Rockaway Lateral Pipeline through Gateway National Recreation Area even penciled in as dotted line. Since the company that wants to build this project is well aware of the proposed Rockaway expansion, having formally filed as intervenors in the FERC docket, there doesn't seem to be a good explanation for this glaring omission from their maps.  Port Ambrose lists as one of the benefits of their project their use of existing pipeline capacity or rather their purported ability to make optimal use of existing capacity. Since it seems very much that the Rockaway Pipeline expansion, which is capable of diverting gas normally delivered to Long Beach, Long Island instead into Brooklyn, has a part to play in this matter of what the "existing capacity" of Williams New York Lower Bay Lateral is, it seems to me that the Rockaway expansion belongs on these maps. Considering that the last company that had a proposed LNG import project offshore said that the Rockaway Pipeline expansion would help facilitate their ability to delivery supply, it would appear to make a lot of sense that the same thing is true for Port Ambrose ability as well.

Recently the U.S. Coast Guard asked about this existing capacity issue and is requesting documentation regarding this along with a whole host of other outstanding information that will be necessary in order to review that project's impact. You will not read that this issue was raised in the news anywhere though and at this point there is no reason why I would be surprised by that fact at all.

Even though once approved the Rockaway Pipeline will still be in my life as the construction of the M&R in the hangars at Floyd Bennett alone will take almost a year, I will be relieved to stop following this project and just get back to gardening.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Tales From the FERC Files, Rockaway Pipeline and its Faux Foes

Native pioneering plant Floyd Bennett Field

 It feels like forever since I learned of the Rockaway Lateral Project through Gateway National Recreation Area and yet though the project is nearly 5 years in the making, it was only since last February that I knew anything about it. I was thinking I could write a book on this project and following it. A dark ugly book called Tales from the FERC Files all about the project itself and then also a narrative about its faux foes, the Coalition Against the Rockaway pipeline and friends. In addition to a recently released draft EIS on the project which was already missing some important information that needed to come in during the public commenting period, just this Friday information that the whole construction time schedule for drilling and pipe laying was being moved to prime time beach season, Memorial Day through Labor Day, was released by Williams. Stunning, as I'm pretty sure I read a document filed way back in 2009 where one of the great challenges was to find a window for construction which would have the least impact on park uses and ocean species and spring summer was not the preferred time frame.

Not to be outdone, the faux foes of the Rockaway Pipeline, the folks over at the misnamed Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline and their friends over at Sane Energy also released some shocking information this week in the form of a strange list of talking points against the project based largely on their own imagination as usual. Oddly one of their sticking points is that absolutely no environmental review of National Grid's project ever occurred, since this misinformation, like most of what they conjure up is so easily refuted. The environmental assessment on that project is actually available online and was made available in an article by the Gotham Gazette about a year ago. It is par for the course though with these strange "activists" who have collectively spread more complete fabrications about this project that it is questionable at this point if they are even beat out in the misinformation category by the companies that want to build the project and politicians who supported it.

Ah well.. all's fair I guess in the fog of war in their minds. And when it comes to foggy thinking or warring, hands down no one actually beats the reputation of the Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline and their friends for that. What a strange trip this has been indeed. I cannot wait till it is over.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Petition Against Science Hiatus at Brooklyn Botanic

                                     Native bee at home in this city that doesn't even stop to sleep

In the upside down world that we live in, science is going on a hiatus at Brooklyn Botanic and Flatbush Gardener, (a gardener and blogger) has started a petition along with some others for folks to sign if they perhaps think this is not such a fantastic idea.

For kicks I looked up the definitions of science and hiatus:
- knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation
-a particular area of scientific study
-a subject that is formally studied
And as a synonym: knowledge.

-a period in time when something is stopped

In other news, Gateway National Recreation Area has released a draft EIS for their new General Management Plan for folks to comment on, where oddly enough their preferred "alternative" is not the alternative that has been identified by them as environmentally preferable.

"In accordance with the NPS NEPA Director’s Order 12 Handbook, the NPS identifies the
environmentally preferable alternative in its NEPA documents for public review and
comment (NPS 2001, section 4.5 E[9]). The environmentally preferable alternative is the
alternative that causes the least damage to the biological and physical environment and
best protects, preserves, and enhances historical, cultural, and natural resources. The
environmentally preferable alternative is identified upon consideration and weighing by
the Responsible Official of long-term environmental impacts against short-term impacts in
evaluating what is the best protection of these resources. In some situations, such as when
different alternatives impact different resources to different degrees, there may be more
than one environmentally preferable alternative (43 CFR 46.30).

Alternative C has been identified as the environmentally preferable alternative based on
the analysis of impacts, which identified it as least damaging to the biological and physical
environment and best at protecting and enhancing natural and cultural resources."

So what is going on hiatus over at Gateway? Logic?

Friday, August 30, 2013

First Azure Bloom

I managed to catch the first bloom of this Salvia (azurea, for its color) by chance in the last hour of daylight late Tuesday and this plant's botanical name is apt. This picture is a bit tinted from the sunlight, but the flower is indeed blue just like a clear sky.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Where the Echinacea Came Up This Year


And so of course then, what I had was some to give away.

Monday, August 26, 2013

I Was Chasing a Hummingbird Moth

But wound up with a skipper and a wasp. (The hummingbird moths outwit the smartphone camera's capabilities, with their rapid wing movement.) The wasp, I believe is Monobia quadridens, a returning visitor in the garden. I can't remember when the hummingbird moths were flying at Floyd Bennett last year. But one summer I did see them in July, another mid to late august. This year, this weekend was the first I saw of these clearwing moths that fly by day visiting flowers. It's encouraging to see and then recognize at least a few returning pollinating visitors in the garden.
I think Monobia quadridens wasp with a backful of pollen on Monarda punctata, Floyd Bennett Field

Friday, August 23, 2013

Making Themselves at Home

 In this case, the bees in the plant and the plant in my commmunity garden plot.  I'm hoping the Monarda punctata will be sowing itself around like the echinacea seems to be and that this year isn't just a fluke. Because, I could swear these plants were not in this same place this year as last year. (and for Joe and Martha I think this was true too.) If this really turns out to be a native that likes where it is and is happy to move around and make itself at home, I would be pretty happy.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Rockaway Lateral Pipeline Expansion Missing from Port Ambrose LNG Port/Pipeline Maps

Typical Map offered by Liberty Natural Gas LLC, seen in news stories always leaves out the proposed Rockaway Lateral Pipeline expansion through Riis beach and Gateway National Recreation Area

 I have been counting news stories about Port Ambrose, the LNG Deepwater Port/pipeline project currently proposed for offshore Long Island and the most likely expansion to follow the Rockaway Lateral Project though Williams has long been saying no LNG project would be associated with their project. So far only one reporter has connected the Rockaway Lateral Project with this proposal, Sarah Crean over at Gotham Gazette who has done a few stories and some of the most involved on the Rockaway Pipeline to date. Right now the ratio of stories that mention Rockaway Lateral pipeline along with Port Amrbose looks a lot like the odds of winning at a Roulette table. Maybe 36 to 1.

What's missing from the map above is the proposed Rockaway Lateral Expansion through Gateway National Recreation Area. How bad a map is this one provided by Liberty Natural Gas LLC? Pretty bad if one considers that pipelines are regulated by the PHMSA which is part of the Department of Transportation. I mean wouldn't a road map that left out the Verrazano bridge be a little ridiculous? Obviously Rockaway Lateral is not built yet as we are still waiting on the draft EIS for this project, but anyone who has seen a map of the Rockaway Lateral can see where it is going to go. Jacob Riis beach and Floyd Bennett Field are clearly visible on the map above and the green line from New Jersey to Long Beach, Long Island represents Transco's existing 26 inch New York Lower Bay Lateral which the 26 inch Rockaway Lateral will be built off of. The black and white line represents the proposed 26 inch pipeline that will from the proposed Port Amrbose LNG import facility to interconnect with the existing New York Bay Lateral just a hair east of the Rockaway Peninsula. . Exactly how difficult would it have been for Liberty Natural Gas LLC to add another line representing the proposed Rockaway pipeline through Riis beach and Floyd Bennett? I mean they registered as an intervenor in the Rockaway Project under docket CP13-36 over 5 months ago so it's not like the project is a mystery to them.

Wonder what the odds are that another reporter makes the connection before the Rockaway pipeline is approved? Pretty slim I imagine. So the story of the Rockaway Project and the real facts of it will remain as illusive to find out as ever. Pretty handy I would say for the companies and politicians that want these projects built.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Following that Rockaway Pipeline

                 Image of Joe's Protect Your Parks Postcard Letter Writing Campaign Against Hr2606

It seems like a lifetime ago when I first learned about the Rockaway Lateral Pipeline Project via a breaking NY1 news item that the bill that would give the National Park Service the authority to approve both the right of way through Riis beach and the acre city gate metering and regulating station in Floyd Bennett had just passed in the House. But it was only last February. And just about exactly a year later, this year in early February, the Army Corps of Engineers revealed what the project will be that would follow this one in a simple sentence they wrote to Transco which said "Contact the United States Coast Guard to obtain information on the currently proposed Liberty Natural Gas Project in NY state waters."

They were referring to Port Ambrose, an LNG Deepwater Port/Pipeline Project currently proposed or rather reintroduced in nearby waters.  So far only one reporter at the Gotham Gazette has managed to write a story that connects these two projects with one another even though the Port Ambrose project has been all over the news lately. Personally I have been contacting news agencies for months about that port project and its connection to the Rockaway Lateral, so I know it isn't just a matter of not knowing that is preventing reporters from covering how the two are connected.  All you would really have to do is make a map of the two projects together (link to one map on Liberty's website) and read a bit and it becomes clear. In fact the folks who want to build that project help make the connection with two things they list as selling points for their project in fact:

  • Completely eliminates the need for coastal land use;
  • Makes optimal use of existing offshore pipeline capacity;
What Port Ambrose folks don't say is that technically not all of that offshore pipeline "capacity" actually exists yet. Some of it is still working its way through the FERC process under docket CP13-36.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Ridiculous Antics of the Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline

 Some Letters Joe wrote against HR2606  to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcomittee on National Parks last year in May.

For too long now, I have watched a group of people that I first met last year ruthless and systematically use my own efforts and the efforts of other Floyd Bennett Field gardeners to suit their own purposes. That group of people go by the name of "Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline" and it is a group of people that are responsable for spreading many untruths about the Rockaway Pipeline despite the very best efforts of Floyd Bennett Field users to bring the real story of this pipeline project to light. This Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline is mostly made of folks who belong to other organizations. Those organizations are Brooklyn for Peace, Sane Energy, United for Action and Occupy the Pipeline. The list of ridiculous antics these folks have engaged in for almost a year now is pretty long and I actually think it would take a book to tell that whole tale. I will just start out though by saying just a few of the ridiculous and kooky or otherwise completely non-factual things that these people have promoted or said.

1. That HR 2606 was a bill "bundled" with a host of other bills passed last year infringing on public lands.
2. That National Grid and Williams were actually secretly the same company and not two entirely different corporations
3. That Jamaica Bay was being trenched as part of the Rockaway Lateral Project
4. Post Hurricane Sandy, they along with Occupy Sandy and Occupy the Pipeline promoted the idea that the Rockaway Lateral Project was actually running straight through neighborhoods in the Rockaways and not through Jacob Riis beach and Gateway National Recreation Area.
5. That the gas that will be delivered through the Rockaway Lateral Project is not intended for use in Brooklyn and in NYC but is somehow mysteriously being delivered into Brooklyn but is actually intended to be used by people overseas.

Now that last one is my favorite and I should give credit to some of the people actively promoting this particularly kooky conspiracy theory. They are J.K. Canepa, Martha Cameron, Gary Goff of the Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipline and since this is something one can read on CARP's website, apparently it is now the official line of everyone in their organization. Having actually been associated with this group of people and this Coalition for about three months before realizing very quickly that they were deeply misinformed people, their antics and what they say about the Rockaway Pipeline project have been deeply disturbing for me to watch play out for a while now.

Still despite the ridiculous antics of the Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline, I hold out hope that the truth about this project will eventually come out. This week reporter Sarah Crean connected the Rockaway Pipeline with the currently proposed offshore Port Ambrose Deepwater LNG port and that upcoming project in her story for the Gotham Gazette so I have reason to be hopeful.

It is enormously disappointing to have watched a group of activists, the Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline for almost a full year now willfullly and deliberately hurt my own efforts to reach politician's, government officials and other people about this project. The story of how the Rockaway Project got promoted and pushed through by politicians, the companies and the national park service is actually troubling enough without the added nuisance of misguided activists thrown in for good measure too.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Not Enough Bouquets So Far This Year

But this one got me back in the mind. I miss this. Watching plants. Growing and tending something. The garden this year is tending itself in large part with large patches of welcome volunteers filling in the spaces. (this year chamomile a top contender for volunteer of the year and the love in a mist, which i should catch before it goes to seed again.) Though I haven't been experimenting myself I noticed that the coolness of this spring had flowers Joe brought home from the garden lasting a good long while in the vase.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Tales From the FERC Files

                  Milkweed, wild, Floyd Bennett Field: my choice for a preferred partner in the park

If you've never had the pleasure of a natural gas pipeline and associated above ground infrastructure proposed to run through and operate in a park near you, you have missed out indeed on being inundated with last minute changes and enormous volumes of paperwork to read through in the FERC files. For the Rockaway Pipeline lateral with the awesome new park improvement, an acre natural gas facility proposed for historic hangars in Floyd Bennett Field right alongside recreational users of the park, it has been a busy month in the FERC files. Just as a draft EIS was anticipated on the project, a "separate" project was deemed connected and is being tacked on. That project involves compression work back along Transco's pipeline almost to the Maryland border and as far as I can tell seems to be the source of the only incremental gas being supplied by the project. If you didn't know the Rockaway Pipeline lateral seems to be supplying the least amount of additional gas into New York City of the two recently FERC approved pipeline expansions into Brooklyn and New York City, what can I say? You probably are getting your information on the project from the news and its doubtful that there is a reporter or newspaper with the time to spend dedicated to this unimportant project through the public beach and park. Why this connected project has only recently been introduced, who knows?  Perhaps for the same reason that it was also only recently revealed that National Grid would like an additional pipe connected to the metering and regulating facility in the park?  It's a good thing for National Grid that the National Park Service decided to place the facility in the park and to testify in Congress in order to ensure that their choice for the placement of that facility catupulted to the top of the list of sites being considered before the first public meetings were held on the project now isn't it?  Already it seems the companies that want to build their infrastructure in the park seem to have catapulted to the top of the list of important park users.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Today's Park Quote from Mayor Bloomberg and One from the Past

Part of a smaller metering and regulating station in an industrial park not a recreational park

Parkland is “not the only thing people need,” Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday as he defended plans to build a soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. “It’s not irreplaceable.” I get a real kick out of Boss Bloomberg's statements on parks. But this quote from the NY post gets even better. “In fact, there’s an old airport, Flushing Airport, which is going to be turned into a park. So the total parkland would be the same,” added the mayor. “On balance there’s an enormous amount of new park land,” he said. “But it’s not the only thing people need. A lot of people want a stadium to enjoy soccer.” This is a 2013 quote. I don't know what the ratio is of people who want to enjoy soccer is versus the people who use parks is, but I think what the mayor actually means is there is some money to be made by some people by building a stadium.

Back in 2011 --“Here in New York, we feel such a strong sense of pride for our parks, I want to thank Secretary Salazar and the rest of the Obama administration for their ongoing support of the city’s parks and other national jewels within the five boroughs,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “As part of the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, we look forward to working with the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service to enhance the largely undiscovered beauty of the Gateway National Recreation Area.” http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/Salazar-Bloomberg-Launch-Great-Urban-Park-Vision-for-New-York-City.cfm

One of my favorite parts of that DOI press release is this whopper: "The National Park Service will undertake urban design plans for Floyd Bennett Field on Jamaica Bay that is surrounded by the most dense and diverse population in any national park area. NPS will also work to revitalize the community gardens at Floyd Bennett Field as a tool to increase urban residents’ access to fresh vegetables, and to the outdoor gardening experience." And by that I think what was really meant was that they were getting ready to push a bill through Congress to build a pipeline through the park and place a metering and regulating facility in Floyd Bennett Field next to a community garden that seems pretty vital all on its own.

Meanwhile over at the Rockawave they have taken to giving Gateway a new nickname, Gateway National Disgrace Area, which I like, but they seem to think that the city is actually going to be an improvement over NPS, which I think might mean that they are dreaming.  The park is for sale.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Maybe they better get started with postcards from park users

I read a curious article a week or so ago about a threat to some national parks. It was curious to me because it began with the line "Teddy Roosevelt must be rolling over in his grave" and the line seemed familiar to me as I think an archer at Floyd Bennett Field wrote something pretty similar on one of Joe's postcard campaign letters against HR2606. The article is curious to me for a few reasons. One of them being a report mentioned written apparently by the National Parks Conservation Association, who was just gung-ho about HR2606, but maybe that's because the chair of that organization is a certain wealthy mayor's business partner totally in favor of the Rockaway Pipeline Project through Gateway National Recreation Area, specifically the pipe through Jacob Riis Beach and the Floyd Bennett Field metering and regulating facility. Who knows? It's a possibility right?  The report by the NPCA reminded of another report acredited to the National Park Service that I also wrote a post about last August. It's an interesting little circle. Now all I have to do is hear that the writer of the deSmog article lives in Brooklyn and I will just fall right over from all of this interestingness happening at once.

On second thought. Maybe the NPCA should save money on stamps as I think it takes too long for people in power to read postcards?

To requote a line I got from Ken Burns documentary on the National Parks page again:
"In his speech, Roosevelt reminded people of the essential democratic principle embodied by the parks; they were created "for the benefit and enjoyment of the people." These words were later carved into the arch's mantle as a reminder of why the park was there – and for whom.

The parks are for the people? Who knew. I've read a ridiculous amount of material in the FERC files on the Rockaway Project and very rarely do I read about people.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Guy's Salad Bar

 and the tulip I crushed below weeding. I'd never had so many weeds in my community garden plot before or started the season so late. I usually mulch with straw over the winter. But I also have never seen so manylady bugs in my garden in early spring before while weeding, so maybe it's a fair tradeoff after all. Maybe it means my garden was meant to be just a litte bit more on the fallow side this year and that's ok.

(Guy's salad bar though I believe could rival Trader Joe's. I kid you not ever.  My neighbors rock the garden. Now is that a pretty cold frame you could line up with a plate at or what? It's April.)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Plant and What's Still Wild in the News

Bloodroot bloom at Floyd Bennett Field Garden wildlife habitat (not wild, but transplanted)

It's nice to know that when the National Park Service isn't making dubious deals to lease out their land and historic structures to natural gas companies, they spend some time focused on what actually is their business, celebrating some of what is still wild even here in New York City. (Last year's picture, late March.) Because plants are of the wild too, though they do not roar.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Metering Regulating Station Floyd Bennett Field: Today's Quote

                  Protect Your Parks Postcard Letterwriting campaign run by Joe against HR2606
"No action that is the subject of an ongoing NEPA analysis or that would

limit the choice of alternatives undergoing NEPA scrutiny should be taken

until the NEPA process is complete (1506.1). This includes design work,

funding pieces of a project, choosing building contractors, and so forth."

Today's quote brought to you by Director's Order 12 Handbook
That is an interesting quote to consider in regards to the proposal to place an acre natural gas facility in historic hangars in Floyd Bennett Field. Because in that case, historic hangars in Floyd Bennett Field went from not being even on an alternative list to the preferred choice for the facility, testified in support of on HR2606 by the National Park Service in Congress before all public notice, commenting and before even public scoping for environmental review that came as part of the FERC process on the project.
So let's see now if the National Park Service's decision to place this facility in those hangars which seems to have come in September 2010 requiring no public input or environmental review effects the NEPA process and placement of that facility in the Rockaway Lateral Project or not. We are still waiting on a draft EIS on that as part of the FERC process for the natural gas pipeline project through Gateway National Recreation Area, but the National Park Service didn't require one for their testimony on that bill. Neither did Congress.

Metering and Regulating Station site and alternatives circa 2009 about 3 years before the first public meetings were held on the project in April 2012. HR2606 passed in the House in February of 2012 and was testified in support of by the National Park Service in March of 2012. But who am I to say that maybe those public meetings came just a wee late in the process, whether the FERC process or the one that brings us laws?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

What to Focus on this Year?

I wouldn't say that every year since I started gardening that I have had just one true focus for the year. Probably exactly the opposite has been true. The moments outside always feels like a mad dash to try and take everything in all at once. To follow a favorite throughout the seasons, learn the name of the blooming thing in front of me in the moment by name, whether common or botanic or spot a new a pollinator in the garden, whether bee, wasp or other. What is true I think is that the focus has always been on something outside of myself, something tangible, real and alive that I hadn't spent enough time getting to know or pay attention to closely before beginning to garden.

I miss this.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pipeline Projects, Public Parks, PR and Politics

Above ground pipeline infrastructure in an industrial park

A press release here from the Department of Interior: which highlights "historic progress" over at Gateway National Recreation Area but fails to highlight the "historic progress" coming for historic hangars in Floyd Bennett Field in the form of an acre natural gas facility. And over in the NYtimes the news instead is about an oyster farm caught up in "pipeline politics"?

Press releases and the politics of pipelines, public parks: an interesting topic. Seems it was only a few years ago when Ken Salazar and the DOI were promoting the park, Floyd Bennett Field included no less while a bill to improve the park with an acre natural gas facility in historic hangars was quietly introduced into Congress. Makes me think that maybe there really is something to that expression, no news is good news. Who would have thought that in 2011 while the PR and public statements were all about camping and park improvements, what was a number one priority for politicians in the "pipeline" was literally a pipeline project? Not me that's for sure. When the powers that be promote a pipeline project and infrastructure as in improvement of your favorite park perhaps there's a chance you'll see what I mean. Personally I find it fascinating that all this comes as the park, Gatway National Recreation Area celebrates its 40th year as a concept and the National Park Service gets ready to celebrate a new century of protecting parks as it nears its own Centennial celebration. History indeed.

Protect Your Parks Postcards and this Post brought to you in part by the letter P for press releases, as in this one from New York City, which mentions the generosity of National Grid donating money to the new Jamaica Bay Parks planning process, but doesn't mention that National Grid along with Williams Transco will also conveniently gets to operate in the park, that is if one considers Floyd Bennett Field a part of that park at all.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring Afternoon at the Casey's with Anne

A decidely rosey affair. The hellebores reportedly began their show in the snow with some in full bloom, others post and still others about to bloom. On the way I passed blooming daffodils but in the Casey's yard the bulbs planted late fall with Anne last year still have some time left to grow. The good fun to be had though was pushing past the mulch to see what appears to be the variegated Solomon's Seal just emerging up out of the ground.  

Monday, April 1, 2013

Gateway National Grid Recreation Area in the news


The Marine Parkway Bridge-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, as seen from above with Floyd Bennett Field on the horizon.
 Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin (click on picture or here for MTA flickr page)
I haven't seen a bill yet to actually rename the park Gateway National Grid Recreation Area, but now that work is beginning on National Grid's accompanying Brooklyn Queen's Interconnect Project, maybe it's something that ought to be considered. I'm sure there's some local politicians with a penchant for renaming things for some reason or other or just willing to waste some time in order to get the all important work of renaming stuff done. The marriage of the National Park Service's logo with National Grid's (whatever that might, corporate logos aren't a particular fascination of mine) might not look so bad on a sign. Truth in advertising right? And people get upset about naming stadiums after corporations?
It's fools day. Celebrate.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

National Grid's Drilling Time to Coincide with Spring's Return


The Marine Parkway Bridge-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, as seen from above with Floyd Bennett Field on the horizon.
 Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin (click on picture or here for MTA flickr page)

Not unlike the Williams Rockaway Lateral Project, which apparently is a gift to Gateway National Recreation Area in the form an acre natural gas facility in the park billed as a supposed park improvement and "boost" to the park, National Grid who will also own equipment in the M&R, is also set to begin work on their accompanying pipeline project through the area right now, perhaps as a welcome to the return of birds and spring. Timing of course is everything. On that note, I imagine the NY Times and other news organizations might just get around to reporting on this, if at all, in time for the construction's finish. Then again, those outlets are I'm sure just loaded down with important coverage of what's happening in and around Gateway National Recreation Area.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


For some flowers and grass in the sun. In a month or so hopefully on a bright day it will be time for planting peas.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

On Seeing The Forest And Seeing The Trees

(But I was not in the forest, only the park.)

They say that you cannot see the forest for the trees meaning that you are paying too much attention to the details to see the larger picture.  I get the gist of the idiom, but to really see the forest you must also see the trees. There is no either or. The mind is like the eye in its amazing capacity to switch focus from near to far, and to perceive also, however dimly, those things just sneaking up off to the side and at the edges.

Joe dragged me to Prospect Park to see the blooming witchhazel and I so I went out for the flowers (yay!) but also saw the trees. Joe also brought home a book from the library which I have swiped out from under him, The Man who Planted Trees by Jim Robbins with a subtitle Lost Groves, Champion Trees and an Urgent Plan to Save the Planet. I expect it will switch back and forth from specific beetles and regional forest die-offs to global perspectives, particular species and things in between, notably one man's quest to clone the world's champion trees (I read the bookflap). I expect to oscillate between being sad and hopeful, wanting to read it whole and taking my time with it. There is no either or.

On the books cover is an image of a tree cutting in a test tube presumably one of those cuttings from a Champion tree. Or to put it another way, there is an image of a small piece of one big tree.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Back in the Park Again

Aster, winter, Floyd Bennett Field
I have written many nerdy posts about this garden in this old airfield and happy moments here. But I haven't gone so long without seeing this place though as I have recently, so this first moment this year at the garden this weekend might be the happiest yet. (and there was snow)

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Year's Distraction

Often, I wish that I had discovered gardening earlier in my life.

Before I started gardening, I wouldn't have been able to look at these pictures and tell the season by the bloom, know what plant is a native and which are weeds, nor much about what kind of pollinator I was looking at, never mind botanic names. This isn't a staggering amount of knowledge to have acquired, but I don't think that I wish I'd started gardening earlier just because I'd know that much more now about plants or pollinators. Keeping score about how much or little you know is something I think of as reserved for school.  

Last year, I came to know a lot more than I ever would have imagined I'd come to know about natural gas, whether about extraction or infrastructure siting (and I know I'm not alone there, you really could not escape this topic in New York state right now if you tried), and obviously there's some value in that, as there is in learning anything. Unlike the process of learning about the hoverfly, wasp and plants pictured here around the community garden and Floyd Bennett Field, this was not actually fun or pretty at all. I'd choose hunting for hours for the genus of a hoverfly over poring through FERC files or tracking a bill's path through Congress any old day.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

From The FERC Files (CP13-36)

Well, it took some looking and if you've never poked around in FERC's elibrary, you might not appreciate what a wild goosechase, needle in a haystack search it was to find correspondance from NPS staff on this project that I can agree with regarding the adaptive reuse of these historic hangars in Floyd Bennett Field for a 60,000 square foot metering and regulating station:

"the new use is not only "contemporary" but the hangers are expected to perform a "technical and sophisticated service within the confines of the historic structure." They will not see traditional reuse functions which is uncharacterestic of NPS historic sites. By contrast, they are not intended for visitation to aid interpretation and resource appreciation and to enhance the visitation experience. Some would contend that the new use is incompatible with the preservation interests and DOI cultural resource management policy (NPS 28) because of detrimental risks and changes created by the new use. Their value has been reduced to their exterior appearance.

In reality, the hangers convert to industrial use. They become a fence to shield views of the new use and an enclosure to protect the new functions. The rehabilitiation has nothing to do with aviation, or human/daily usage by staff or the the public for the next century."

Man that sounds very familiar to me. There is a lot said in those few sentences. Reminds me of a phrase I read on a postcard to the president. (I didn't write that one either.) There is spin and a lot of PR on what this project means for Gateway NRA and then there is reality.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Public Law 112-197


 Seeing as the public actually had very little if anything even at all to do with the creation or passing of this Public Law 112-197, beyond writing letters (in the hundreds) and signing petitions (in the thousands in a very short time frame) against it that fell on deaf ears, even the label "public" law seems disingenous and  offensive.

This is an industry law and it gives an industry that already has tremendous legal rights under the Natural Gas Act, which include eminent domain, the right to operate in a place where previously it did not.

The National Parks Conservation Association has referred to Gateway National Recreation Area as the "poster child for underfunding of national parks". The mayor and the secretary of the interior have said that they want this park to stand as a new model for the future of urban parks. The public ought to have more of a role in the future of this poster child park because it seems kind of obvious to me from the passing of Public Law 112-197 that the people who are supposed to be funding and protecting this park are failing at the task.

Williams Transco just filed formally with the FERC for their Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (new number CP13-36) and though they have been making out that they are only early in the process of siting this project, they are asking that this certificate be approved by this fall. I notice that "public" is in that title too.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Down the Aisle (the metering and regulating facility and the park)

 For the better part of last year I followed the news about a natural gas pipeline project that would place a large natural gas metering and regulating facility in the hangars that are down the aisle from where I garden in a park (Floyd Bennett Field). I can't count the amount of time I've spent poring through documents that trace this project's path back to 2009. But, back in 2009 those hangars in Floyd Bennett Field were not the preferred choice for a metering and regulating facility that would support a new pipeline lateral through Gateway National Recreation Area and the surrounding area, nor were they even an alternative site. The reason for this is pretty simple. Natural gas facilities like this metering and regulating facility are not the kind of things that are typically placed in parks, not just parks protected by the National Park Service, but most parks.

In 2009, when searching for a preferred and alternative site for this large facility, Williams used these words: "A key goal of the evaluation process was to identify a potential site that. in being developed as a meter and regulating station, would retain the land use regime of the immediate area."

Across from the hangars up until this Ocober there used to be a gazebo. It was built by a community of gardeners. The last time I was at Floyd Bennett Field, the gazebo lay flattened as it had been since Hurricane Sandy and I thought about the beautiful border around it that Bob had planted and tended over the years. I would defy anybody that says Williams had achieved that "key goal" in matching the site for that metering and regulating facility from a "land use regime" perspective.

This is a park last I checked. The land use regime they were going for is "developed industrial use" (their words, not mine.)