BED-STUY, BROOKLYN – A rate hike that will cost 1.9 million New Yorkers already built parts of a controversial Brooklyn pipeline, along with other National Grid projects, has been approved by officials at the ‘State.
The $ 125 per year increase in gas bills for residents in the lower part of the state was approved Thursday by the state’s Civil Service Commission, cementing a plan to make customers pay for the early stages of d ‘a pipeline in north Brooklyn, which activists have fiercely opposed.
The final phase of pipeline construction, which is pending review by an independent consultant, was not included in the rate agreement.
The approval comes after a coalition fighting against the installation of the gas pipeline – also known as the Metropolitan Natural Gas Reliability Project – launched a “gas bill strike,” urging Brooklynites to hold back $ 66 off their gas bills.
Campaigners claimed the pipeline would exacerbate climate change and “endanger the health and safety of predominantly black and brown working class neighborhoods.” The project, which is nearing completion, will exploit fracking gas through Brownsville, Bed-Stuy, Bushwick, Williamsburg and Greenpoint.
“Today’s Public Service Commission decision is a continuation of environmental racism,” said Gabriel Jamison, member of the Brownsville Residents Green Committee. “… Our state and city agencies are in the pocket of National Grid and therefore haven’t done their job. Since the state has proven today that it doesn’t believe black lives matter , people need to take action, organize and mobilize and shut down this pipeline. “
In a recommendation to the PSC, a judge said the investment projects included in National Grid’s infrastructure plan “do not harm disadvantaged communities,” according to activists. The coalition contends, however, that there has never been an assessment to see whether the pipeline would disproportionately harm disadvantaged communities.
The PSC noted that the rate hike approved this week is well below an increase initially proposed by gas companies in 2019.
National Grid said the pipeline project would allow the gas supply to move more safely and efficiently.
“The approval by the Civil Service Commission of the National Grid’s three-year investment plan joint regulation will allow us to prioritize energy affordability while investing in the programs needed to maintain safety and security. the reliability of our natural gas networks and implement new programs to accelerate the transition to a cleaner energy future, “a spokesperson said on Friday.
Many lawmakers, including, most recently, Mayor Bill de Blasio, have spoken out against the pipeline project.