Local environmental groups are applauding a recent decision from the Public Service Commission to reject the use of public money for a potential fracking operation in Brooklyn.
On March 16, the PSC voted no to National Grid’s request for $70 million of public money to construct liquefied fracked gas vaporizers in Greenpoint.
“Brooklyn has reason to celebrate today,” said Greenpoint resident Kevin LaCherra.
“These LNG vaporizers are only the latest in a long line of environmentally devastating fossil fuel infrastructure that have plagued working people in North Brooklyn for 150 years. We need the DEC to finally do their job and put people over industry profit.”
National Grid has been actively attempting to move the project forward for the past three years, despite push back from residents and numerous environmental groups, including No North Brooklyn Pipeline Alliance, Sane Energy Project, Alliance for a Green Economy and Earthjustice.
“Our community has spent more than three years demanding that state agencies do their job,” said Kim Fraczek, director of Sane Energy Project.
“We must take serious action on climate, and prioritize our communities' health and economies and our ecosystem over the profits of CEO’s and shareholders.”
National Grid was planning to raise customer rates to pay for the $70 million project. However, with PSC rejecting the proposal, the company will only be able to recover $10.5 million of the $48.8 million it has already spent on the vaporizers.
PSC’s ruling comes on the heels of expert findings that suggest the proposed project would negatively burden nearby communities that are already suffering from high pollution, which would be in violation of the environmental justice provisions of New York’s climate law.
“From the deaths in Buffalo in January’s blizzard to deaths from summer heat waves in Brooklyn, to flooding deaths in New York City when Ida hit in 2021, we know these tragedies are due to extreme weather exacerbated by climate change. The DEC must act now to halt these vaporizers and prevent National Grid from building unneeded infrastructure,” said Hélène Filion Onserud, a Sunset Park resident.
The final decision on whether National Grid can build the vaporizers now moves back to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The DEC is also in the process of evaluating National Grid's air permit application.
Local environmental groups are calling on the DEC to deny the project’s air permit.
“Today, the PSC did the right thing,” said Ruhan Nagra, director of the Environmental Justice Clinic at the University of Utah. “We are hopeful that the Commission’s decision foreshadows a broader commitment by state agencies to New York’s landmark climate law, which makes clear that fossil fuel projects like this one have no place in our future.”
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