Citizens of New York: You done good! Standing room only at the Port Ambrose hearing in Jamaica, Queens. Gratitude to the more than 400 folks who came out on a freeeezing night! Well-tuned testimonies from both elected officials and citizens ran for more than three hours. A sampling of coverage, comments and photos, below:
Queens Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder opened the hearing by sarcastically thanking the Coast Guard for "doing the absolute minimum" by holding a single hearing in a hard-to-reach locale, noting that "our job as government officials is to make sure the public is heard" and calling the actions of the agencies "unacceptable." NY City Council Environmental Chair, Donovan Richards, whose district covers portions of Queens directly impacted, spoke on the security risks and noted that the project is in opposition to the City's climate goals. Newly elected Long Island Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky said he "knocked on 4000 doors during his campaign and "No one was excited about this project." Long Island doesn't want and doesn't need Port Ambrose. Long Beach City Councilman Anthony Eramo demanded a South Shore hearing and said, "Our energy choices DO MATTER." Local Community Board Chair Dolores Orr asked Liberty Natural Gas, "WHY ARE YOU HERE AGAIN?" noting that their two prior attempts to build LNG off the Long Island coast were for export and were defeated and still, no one wants this project.
Most of the union members in attendance hailed from the Carpenters Local 57 union (because of their obvious stake in an underwater pipeline?). They appeared utterly disinterested in the proceedings; most took their paid-for shirts off and left early without testifying. Almost apologetic when questioned, several (who lived in the area) admitted the project was harmful and said they were "just doing picket duty." One man said he'd been paid $500 to show up. The proceedings were peaceful until very late in the evening when the leader of one union attempted to pick a fight when asked to quiet down. Police removed him and the hearing went on.