Opposing the Williams Pipeline

March 2019
The Williams Pipeline is a 23-mile pipeline proposed by Williams Transco that would run under New York Harbor to deliver fracked gas from Pennsylvania through the waters off Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. What could possibly go wrong? Williams Transco’s application for the pipeline was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC) in December, 2018. However, New York State has the opportunity to stop this dangerous pipeline by refusing to grant Williams Transco the permits and certificates they need to begin construction.
The Williams Pipeline would have extensive environmental consequences should it be approved. Williams Transco would need to dig a huge trench extending throughout New York Harbor in order to lay the pipeline, disrupting marine life in a sensitive estuary with ongoing construction and churning up toxins like PCBs, dioxin, lead and arsenic that have settled on the harbor’s seabed. The impact on fish and animals would be immense and irreversible, and the chemical contamination of the shoreline would be dangerous to New Yorkers. And this is only the damage that construction would cause; the environmental impacts of a leak or explosion would be devastating. In the last ten years alone Williams Transco pipelines and compressor stations have either exploded or caught fire ten times. They have also suffered another five explosions and fires in other Williams’ natural gas facilities. The unfortunate result of these events left six people dead and 103 injured, in addition to releasing methane into the atmosphere, leveling buildings, and contaminating ground water.
In January, Governor Cuomo announced a Green New Deal agenda for New York State, including moving the state to one hundred percent clean energy by 2040. The Williams Pipeline is not only totally antithetical to this goal, as it would deepen our dependence on fracked gas, but it is also unnecessary. As New York moves toward cleaner energy sources, like wind and solar, our need for natural gas will decrease. As a state, we have made clear that we believe that fracking is unsafe and unsustainable. The Williams Pipeline would undermine the basic environmental goals the state has laid out, economically benefiting the natural gas industry and supporting fracking in Pennsylvania while worsening climate change and increasing our fossil fuel dependence. It’s essential that the state remain resolute in the face of this unnecessary pipeline and refuse to grant Williams Transco any permits to move forward.