Central Brooklyn Electeds Pushback Against Brownsville ‘Pipeline’

Insulated heating circuit of centralized heating outdoors.
Insulated heating circuit of centralized heating outdoors. Pipeline coated with galvanized sheet metal. Industrial background. Selective focus.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has reportedly joined Assemblywoman Latrice Walker (D-Ocean Hill-Brownsville, East New York, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Bushwick, and Cypress Hills) and other city officials in denouncing the Metropolitan Natural Gas Reliability Project, commonly referred to as the “pipeline” in Brownsville. 

Walker, Councilmember Alicka Ampry-Samuel (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Ocean Hill-Brownsville, East Flatbush, Crown Heights), Councilmember Inez Barron (D-East New York), Assemblymember N. Nick Perry (D-East Flatbush), Assemblymember Charles Barron (D-East New York), Senator Zellnor Y. Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, and Sunset Park), U.S Rep Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), and U. S. Rep Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) have banded with the Nehemiah Homeowners Association, the Brownsville Residents Green Committee, and the Ocean – Hill Brownsville Coalition of Young Professionals, and residents in Brownsville protesting the project the past few months.

Assemblywoman Latrice Walker

“An environmentally dangerous pipeline in one of our densest, primarily African American communities is unacceptable,” said Walker. “Just because so many of us are underserved doesn’t mean we are not smart. We know what this pipeline would be. Stopping it is critical to the health, safety, and welfare of the people I serve.”

Walker said that “various sources” indicate a high probability the project would leave the residents to foot the bill for the pipeline as city and state climate laws are implemented.

“We disagree with the assertion that any of our customers – particularly those in Black and Brown communities don’t deserve to be warm and have heat. Our commitment and our obligation is to all of our customers, regardless of color. We regularly invest in our communities and will continue that commitment every day,” said National Grid Spokesperson Karen Young. 

Young said to clarify the “pipeline” is not a transmission pipeline that introduces new gas to the area, rather it is a gas main that connects the existing system in order to make it safer. 

“As of November 2020 we had already paused work on this project, and we had already agreed not to proceed to the next phase until the state completes its comprehensive gas system planning,” said Young.

Young said that the pausing of the project hasn’t impacted any customers in the Brownsville area, and is aligned with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s clean energy goals to reduce gas emissions by 2050. The Net Zero by 2050 Plan was initiated in October, and focuses on several areas, including energy efficiency, using more renewable natural gas and hydrogen, reducing methane emissions, using new technologies, and investing in large scale carbon management.