On October 31st, the deadline to submit public comment on the NJ-NY Expansion Project, otherwise known as the Spectra Pipeline, closed. It took a while for FERC to upload all the comments, as well as transcribe the oral comments from all four public hearings, but at this point new filings (while still happening) have lessened to a dribble.What were the results? Overwhelming public opposition to the pipeline. At last count: 4,648 comments against the pipeline, versus 22 comments pro. About a dozen neutral comments were also filed.
Congratulations. That we could go, in a single year, from only a handful of folks even aware of the existence of this pipeline, to a unified alliance of thousands of citizens, is testimony to how powerful community action can be. But . . .
Um, congratulations? Well, we certainly have roused public awareness, and public opinion about the pipeline is clear. But that is unlikely to have an effect on Mayor Bloomberg's drive to build this pipeline, or on FERC's final decision. Witness the recent approval, before the final EIS is even complete, of key permits for the project: Key Permits Approved for NY/NJ Natural Pipeline - WNYC. Remind you of any other process (hint: DEC fracking regs) being railroaded through without reasonable public input?
So what now? While opposition to the pipeline is fierce, it's not enough, and not widespread enough. We must all work to keep informing our neighbors in all 5 boroughs, keep telling our public officials that we don't want the pipeline, and don't want a gas-based energy future for NYC. Tell them we will hold them accountable if they sit by while this unwanted piece of infrastructure gets rammed down our throats. Even our allies in government, even those who fight fracking, still say things like, "New York needs the gas." Don't believe it and don't let them get away with that. For the contact info of elected officials and other to contact, see link: Action Alerts | Stop the Spectra Pipeline!