Where do Brooklyn’s future top leaders stand on the North Brooklyn Pipeline? What do they plan to do for the climate and environment while in office?
The new National Grid pipeline has quite literally divided the borough, with construction of the new gas line crossing the city from Brownsville to Bed-Stuy, through Bushwick to Williamsburg, on its way to Greenpoint.
While the pipeline might have been pushed through quietly a decade ago, it’s become a symbol of how traditional fossil fuel infrastructure is now butting up against calls for a green future. It’s also forced our leaders to show their cards on how far they’re willing to go to combat climate change.
Protestors who have been fighting the pipeline for over a year say the pipeline is an unnecessary piece of infrastructure being jammed through communities of color to make the utility money. Current NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for its halt.
But National Grid says the pipeline is necessary to heat homes on the coldest days of winter, that it consulted with people living around the pipeline, and that safety is its top priority.
As of today, the fight is not over, and Brooklynites are going to be looking to the incoming administrations for Brooklyn Borough President and NYC Mayor to see whether National Grid will be allowed to complete the pipeline and associated projects.
BK Reader reached out to the top polling candidates to see where they stand on the North Brooklyn pipeline. This is what they said, and where they stand on climate policy.
NYC Mayoral Candidates
A spokesperson for the Brooklyn Borough President told BK Reader Adams would stop projects like the pipeline if voted Mayor of New York City.
“Adams has been fighting for a carbon-free future for years — and when he’s mayor, he will stop projects like the North Brooklyn pipeline that threaten to move us backwards toward greater reliance on fossil fuels,” the spokesperson said.
Adams says he plans to have the City lead by example on climate change by generating green energy through solar panels and at wastewater treatment plants.
He plans to invest in green jobs through education, electric buses and organics collection. Read more on his environmental policies here.
The NYC Comptroller has been actively fighting alongside protestors to stop the North Brooklyn Pipeline and advocate for the communities along its path.
Earlier this month Stringer joined activists in walking out of a confidential rates negotiation with National Grid to draw attention to its flaws.
“With fracked gas already flowing through segments of the North Brooklyn Pipeline, it is past time to start acting on climate solutions to end the era of fossil fuel growth in New York,” he said.
As Comptroller, Stringer says he has led the city toward the first fossil-fuel divestment of any pension system in the country, targeted billions of investments towards the green economy and challenged the financiers of fossil fuels, as well advocating for green energy and green energy jobs.
As Mayor, Stringer says he will ban all new fossil fuel infrastructure, create a public utility to power the city totally with renewable energy by 2035 and permanently retire all existing pipelines, as well as other policies. Read Stringer’s Climate Plan here.
Wiley calls out the North Brooklyn Pipeline in her Climate Plan, saying she will prohibit new fossil fuel infrastructure like the pipeline and their funding sources if she becomes NYC Mayor.
Wiley said she would support ongoing grassroots fights against fossil fuel infrastructure like the No North Brooklyn Pipeline effort, implement studies on shutting down all oil and gas burning plants in the City and look at the feasibility of wind turbines in New York.
She says she will complete the City’s goal of installing solar across 300 City buildings by 2025, creating green jobs while also building green roofs.
Read her full climate plan here.
Yang did not respond to multiple requests for comment from BK Reader on what stance he would take on the pipeline should he become NYC Mayor.
His Environment Policies do not make any mention of the pipeline or fossil fuel infrastructure.
However, Yang said he wants to reduce carbon emissions by fully electrifying the City’s vehicle fleet by 2035 when it is due to be done by 2040, and wants to “pursue updating the zoning in manufacturing districts, especially low-income neighborhoods like Bushwick and Brownsville, to allow for safe commercial urban agriculture.”
Yang also says he wants to make buildings more energy efficient, paint streets brighter to lower the city’s temperature and require windows screens so people can open their windows to let cool air in. Read Yang’s Environmental Plan here.
Brooklyn Borough President Candidates
Councilmember Cornegy did not respond to multiple requests for comment from BK Reader on what stance he would take on the pipeline should he become Brooklyn Borough President.
Cornegy does have a section on climate change on his website, where he says he is part of a Renewable and Sustainable Energy Taskforce (ReSET), made up of energy providers, community-based organizations, and green energy advocacy groups who are working together to create a greener energy infrastructure.
He said he plans to add to the taskforce and promote public education around incentive programs and how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Read more on his climate plan here.
Edwards told the BK Reader he opposes the pipeline and is committed to “fighting for the green future our borough deserves.”
“The North Brooklyn Pipeline is a climate disaster that is the latest example of environmental racism being forced upon predominantly Black, Brown, and working-class communities,” he said.
“It is unconscionable that National Grid wants to literally tear up communities to build a pipeline while raising rates in a city devastated by a pandemic.”
Read more on Edwards’ other policies here.
Council Member Reynoso opposes the pipeline and has been actively involved with protestors trying to block the pipeline and related projects.
He recently spoke at a public hearing where he urged New York’s Department of Environment and Conservation to deny permits for a National Grid expansion protestors say is linked to the pipeline. “I will not stand by while a major fossil fuel company takes actions that harm our most vulnerable,” he said.
He likened the pipeline to Robert Moses “splitting our neighborhood in half with the BQE,” saying National Grid had “rammed a transmission line through our community with almost no notice and zero community engagement,” while promising not to give up on the fight.
Reynoso has an environmental plan for Brooklyn, should he become Borough President. Among his priorities are public ownership of utilities, expanding green infrastructure and green jobs, moving to electric City fleets and cleaning waterways. Read his plan here.
Jo Anne Simon
Assemblymember Simon told BK Reader she stands firmly with the Brooklyn communities who have been fighting against the pipeline.
“The challenges of climate change, widespread pollution, and the disproportionate burden it places on communities of color cannot be met with half measures,” she said.
Simon said she has been at the forefront of environmental efforts such as implementing congestion pricing, burying the “polluting” Gowanus Expressway and shifting to public-owned power so that our utilities and electric generation are publicly owned and renewable.
“And it’s also why I have fought aggressively and legislatively against new fossil fuel infrastructures like theNorth Brooklyn pipeline and the Williams pipeline,” she said.
Simon does not have specific policies on her website, but regarding environmental justice it says she has long championed the superfund cleanup in Brooklyn, has authored studies on traffic and air pollution, and “will fight polluters every day.”
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