A coalition of Brooklyn community groups called on the Biden administration Monday to pull the plug on National Grid’s new gas pipeline in the borough, charging that it will disproportionately impact the health of local residents of color.
The coalition, which is being led by Brownsville Green Justice, a group that’s long been opposed to National Grid’s so-called “Metropolitan Natural Gas Reliability Project,” made the demand in a civil rights complaint filed with the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The complaint alleges National Grid violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by routing the pipeline through predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods, including Brownsville, Ocean Hill and Bushwick, while keeping local residents in the dark about the size of the project and potential risk for hazardous gas leaks.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation — which signed off on the National Grid development — is accused in the complaint of being “complicit in this discrimination.”
“This pipeline is just another example of how communities of color that have historically borne the burden of environmental racism continue to pay the price,” said Fabian Rogers, a Brownsville resident and member of the Brownsville Green Justice group. “The only solution to this current problem is to stop the flow of the gas.”
The federal government helped bankroll construction of the pipeline, and the community groups say that gives President Biden’s administration the authority to block it from being used pending a new environmental review. The groups say they would also like the feds to order a “full and fair” review for alternative pipeline routes.
Representatives for National Grid and the Department of Environmental Conservation did not immediately return requests for comment.
The 7-mile pipeline is slated to snake its way from the southern parts of Brownsville to the northern reaches of Greenpoint. Construction on the pipeline began in 2017 and the first four sections of it are already operational.
National Grid plans to build a fifth and final section, though it’s unclear how soon shovels can hit the ground on that due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, legal disputes and political opposition.
According to National Grid, the pipeline will make gas access in Brooklyn more reliable and safe.
But the project has drawn intense backlash.
In addition to community and activist groups, Mayor de Blasio and several members of the City Council oppose the project, arguing it doesn’t do enough to end New York’s reliance on climate change-driving fossil fuels.
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