Approximately 300 demonstrators gathered in lower Manhattan near City Hall and marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on Thursday, calling on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to reject the Williams Pipeline.
The fracked-gas transmission line has become a flashpoint in grassroots efforts underway to confront climate change, prevent new fossil fuel construction and to steer the state toward a renewable energy future.
‘We are at a time when your words are not enough. We have to see action.’
Following a recommendation from his health department and at the insistence of environmental activists, Cuomo banned hydraulic fracking from the state in 2014 but pipelines carrying the gas continue to be routed through New York.
“Governor, you don’t get to say you banned fracked gas while allowing fracked gas to pass through this state,” said New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. Williams, who launched an unsuccessful bid for Lieutenant Governor last year, seeking to use the post as a way of providing a check to Cuomo’s corporate-friendly, centrist politics, added: “[W]e are at a time when your words are not enough. We have to see action.”
In addition to the threat to the climate the Williams pipeline poses, environmentalists have also raised concerns that its construction — a 23-mile addition to an existing pipeline that would run through New York Harbor — will dredge up industrial toxins buried beneath the seafloor that could harm human and marine life.
Thursday’s protest came on the heels of an “Extinction Rebellion” demonstration the previous day at City Hall, where more than 60 people were arrested for blocking traffic to the Brooklyn Bridge.
The DEC is expected to make a decision on whether to approve, deny or delay construction on the pipeline by May 16.
Photo credit: Sue Brisk. Video by Erin Sheridan.