July 4, 2012 by SCNCC
Ground could be broken on the New Jersey-New York Expansion Project, aka the Spectra Pipeline, any day now. Environmental groups, including Occupy Wall Street Environmental Solidarity and Sane Energy Project, are fighting hard against the project which will bring hydraulically-fracked gas from Jersey City to Manhattan’s West Village. The Reverend Billy Talen, a popular New York performance artist who describes himself as a “post-god” preacher, devoted an entire gospel show last Sunday to warning his flock of the satanic fossil fuel snake.
Last month, OWS delivered a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission which approved the project, pledging a “multi-front campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience” that “will make the construction” of the Spectra Pipeline “and the continued hydro-fracking of the Marcellus Shale a public relations nightmare.”
FERC’s New York branch was caught unawares when the activist turned up, essentially announcing themselves as the latest pain in their asses. They claimed that their office only handles dams, not pipelines. Either way, same agency; one whose budget is contingent on approving the projects it supposedly regulates. Here are Occupy activists visiting FERC:
Here’s the letter they delivered:
To Whom It May Concern:
We, as concerned citizens, activists, and inheritors of this planet, are writing to express our outrage over the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) approval of the NJ-NY Expansion Project, also known as the Spectra Pipeline. We pledge a campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience to prevent the completion of the project and urge this agency to reverse its decision before construction begins.
FERC has shown reckless disregard for public safety and ecological impact by granting Spectra Energy Corporation, a company with an egregious track record of safety violations, permission to bring radioactive, hydraulically-fracked natural gas into millions of homes through a hazardous pipeline that will run through densely populated urban areas.
During the public comment period, FERC received approximately 5000 comments against the construction of this pipeline and only 22 in its favor. Rather than heed the public’s response, this agency has expedited the approval process and sided with the natural gas industry over the citizens whose interests it is supposed to protect.
New Yorkers have good reason to be concerned about this project and its impact on their city. In 2010, a natural gas pipeline in San Bruno, CA, running at comparable pressure to the proposed project, exploded, killing 8 people. In 2004, explosions at a Spectra gas storage facility at Moss Bluff, Texas sparked a fire that burned for six and a half days. Six billion cubic feet of gas was released. Residents within a three mile radius were forced to evacuate. The Spectra Pipeline will run through densely populated urban areas in Jersey City and Manhattan. An explosion could result in thousands of deaths and damage to key infrastructure, including the Jersey Turnpike, Tropicana chemical storage plant, NJ Transit tracks, a 911 call center, and High Line park.
A recent study from Radioactive Waste Management Associates warns that gas from the Marcellus Shale contains wellhead concentrations of radon 70 times above average. The study concludes that the influx of radon from the Spectra Pipeline into an estimated 11 million homes could lead to as many as 30,448 potential new lung cancer deaths.
Beyond the immediate hazard the project poses, it will deepen New Yorkers’ dependence on a fossil fuel with an impact on global warming equal to or greater than coal and oil. As Cornell biologist Robert Howarth has noted, “The [carbon] footprint for shale gas is greater than that for conventional gas or oil when viewed on any time horizon, but particularly so over 20 years. Compared to coal, the footprint of shale gas is at least 20% greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon and is comparable when compared over 100 years.”
Climate change is a threat to the continued existence of millions of species, including human beings. It is time to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels entirely, not switch to new ones that the industry has deceptively promoted as “green” alternatives.
We stand in solidarity with Pennsylvanians whose water, air, and soil are being contaminated by the fracking of the Marcellus Shale and who have taken direct action to protect their communities. Recognizing that New York may be the next natural gas colony, we refuse to receive an ecocidal power source that carries with it the human cost of environmental disenfranchisement.
Ground will not be broken on this project without massive public outcry. Construction will not be completed: period. Thousands of New Yorkers see through the greenwashing and care deeply enough about their city and earth to put their bodies on the line to ensure that this gift to the natural gas and pipeline industries never comes to fruition. A well-coordinated, multi-front campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience will make the construction of this pipeline and the continued hydro-fracking of the Marcellus Shale a public relations nightmare.
We strongly encourage you to reconsider your decision and put a stop to this unnecessary, hazardous, and regressive project.
Occupy Wall Street Environmental Solidarity