Residents concerned over new natural gas pipelines


| RubenMuniz@queenscourier.com |



A massive, new natural gas pipeline that may be coming to the tri-state area has many of the region’s residents up in arms.

At the most recent Community Board 11 meeting, it was revealed that Spectra Energy, a Houston-based gas and electric giant, is proposing to build 16 miles of new pipeline and five miles of connecting pipeline through areas in New Jersey — including Bayonne, Hoboken and Jersey City — ending underneath Manhattan.

The company said the 30-inch thick pipeline would help alleviate New York City’s dependency on pre-existing natural gas pipelines, while lowering natural gas prices for home and business owners. However, many said it would be a biological safety hazard, causing more harm than good.

“It’s a very real problem,” said Dale Bardman, president of Jersey City No Gas Pipeline, an organization formed to block the pipeline from coming to fruition.

“Queens would be exposed to these airborne toxins just as Jersey City, Manhattan, Brooklyn and anywhere the air carries them.”

Bardman said he fears the pipe could be a target for terrorist attacks.

Spectra has had more than 300 public meetings about the project with community leaders, according to spokesperson Marylee Hanley, and has made significant changes based on residential input.

The pipeline, Hanley said, would be safe — with available 24-hour surveillance along the tubes — and would provide an additional supply of natural gas to the region, while creating more than 5,000 jobs.

“We understand the communities’ concerns,” Hanley said. “[This pipeline] will be one of the safest lines in the United States.”

The pipeline could potentially go into service in November 2013, Hanley said.