At the beginning of the year, Williams/Transco applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for permission to build the Rockaway Lateral pipeline project. The docket number for this application is CP13-36.
CARP has been puzzling for some time over an oddity of the Rockaway project: National Grid’s portion of the pipeline, phase 1 of the Brooklyn-Queens Interconnect (BQI), has been treated as an entirely separate project.
Even though the BQI is on national parkland, even though it transits the environmentally sensitive Jamaica Bay inlet, it has entirely escaped review by Congress, by state and federal regulatory bodies, and by the public. It has been subject only to New York City environmental review.
CARP member Maureen Healy pursued the matter with legal counsel familiar with pipeline issues and then submitted a letter to FERC that clearly and boldly lays out CARP’s concerns. Her letter, which challenges the segmentation of this project, is a must-read.
Coupled with other natural gas infrastructure developments in this area, the Rockaway Lateral is taking on new significance.
- FERC recently announced that it would consider the Rockaway application jointly with another Williams docket, CP13-132: an application to upgrade three of its compressor stations, two in New Jersey and one in Pennsylvania. This upgrade will allow Williams to send an additional 100,000 dth/day of natural gas to the Rockaway Lateral. This gas will come from the Marcellus Shale.
- Liberty Natural Gas, an intervenor in the Rockaway application, has plans to open an import LNG terminal at Port Ambrose, about 19 miles south of Jones Beach. On the face of it, this makes no sense: there is already a glut of natural gas in the area, and more coming soon via Spectra. But if Liberty is able to open an LNG terminal, there is a high probability that it would quickly apply for a reversal: from import to export. And in all liklihood, that gas would be coming not from Trinidad or Louisiana but from the Marcellus Shale.
All of these projects together — the National Grid BQI, the Rockaway Lateral, the Williams compressor station upgrades, and the Liberty LNG Terminal — will increase political pressure to allow fracking in New York State.
If we are to prevent this from happening, and protect our national parks from further land grabs by private corporations — if we are ever going to move to renewable energy and start putting the brakes on climate change — we need to stop these projects.
CARP will be stepping up its outreach efforts in the near future. We welcome input from all of you, particularly those of you with professional expertise in this area. And we will keep you posted about future developments and upcoming events.