Fracking Pipeline Threatens Sandy’s Worst-Hit Victims
From NYU Local
By Melissa Cronin
Just weeks after Hurricane Sandy walloped New York City in one of the most devastating episodes of destruction the city has ever seen, new safety concerns for those who were hardest-hit have come to light–namely, a pipeline for fracked gas that is proposed to go right underneath the battered areas, many of which are still without power.
The Williams’ Transco Rockaway Lateral Project will consist of a 3.17-mile, 26-inch pipeline, mostly offshore, planning to deliver natural gas to the Rockaways as early as 2014. Williams Transco, or Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corporation, is a subsidiary of The Williams Companies, Inc., which operates a 10,000-mile natural gas pipeline that stretches cross-country from Texas to NYC, among other pipelines.
Environmentalists and activists, who have started a petition asking the White House to take action against the pipeline’s development, fear that the pipeline will bring gas that is irresponsibly retrieved or contaminated with chemicals. The process used to retrieve natural gas, called hydraulic fracturing, involves shooting high-pressure streams of water, sand, and often-toxic, unspecified chemicals into the ground to get at natural gas reserves that lie 8,000 feet below the surface.
In particular, they worry that the gas, like many other natural gas sources, will contain the fracking chemical Radon, a carcinogen that, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, is the second-leading cause of lung cancer next to smoking.
A leading cause for concern, too, is the risk of pipeline explosion the project will bring to these already stressed communities. Williams has a history of pipeline explosions, like the one in September of 2008 that destroyed two homes and caused multiple injuries. The company was investigated and named responsible for the incident by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
However, on its website, Williams asserts that natural gas pipelines are the safest way to transport energy:
“Pipelines are the safest, most reliable and efficient manner of transporting energy products. Statistics gathered by the National Transportation Safety Board, a federal agency, indicate that less than one one-hundredth of one percent (.01%) of all transportation accidents in the U.S. are related to pipelines.”
By posting your comment, you agree to abide by our Posting rules