NYC Chapter

Stop The Williams Pipeline

Update May 2021:

On 20 May 2021 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Williams Transco’s request for a 2 year extension to build the Williams NESE Pipeline, over the objection of thousands of concerned New Yorkers and over 60 federal, state and city elected officials.

What does this mean?

Williams Transco has two more years to reapply to New York and New Jersey for federal Clean Water Act Section 401 permits. 

What can you do?

Keep updated with us here on our website, @surfridernyc, or sign up for our email newsletter.  We will let you know if we hear any news.  


Williams Transco is trying to bring their awful fracked gas pipeline back from the dead! 

Last month Williams requested a two-year extension from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to start construction on the NESE pipeline. 

Both New York and New Jersey have resoundingly rejected this pipeline and denied the needed permits, but Williams states that it intends to reapply in both states this year, and needs FERC to extend the construction clock. FERC is holding a public comment period on the extension request, which expires on April 6. Like we have done in the past, we need to flood FERC with as many comments as possible.

Sign the petition telling FERC to deny Williams its extension request

And once you sign the petition, you can send a more personalized comment to FERC before the April 6 deadline telling them how this pipeline would impact you and your loved ones. 

1) Read sample comment material here
2) Go to the eComment section of FERC’s website and fill in your info. FERC will then send you an email.
3) Open the link in the email FERC sends you.
4) Enter Docket Number CP17-101, click Search and then Select.
5) Type in your comment and then click submit comment

It is very frustrating that Williams keeps getting additional “bites at the apple” when it is clear that this unnecessary pipeline poses a serious threat to our ocean and coastal communities. It’s egregious that after 3 rejections Williams is still attempting to force through a widely opposed fracked gas pipeline in 2021, 4 years after its original application! 

But if we have learned anything in our years-long battle against this corporate monster, it’s the strength of people powerWe stopped this pipeline before, and we will do it again.

Campaign Context:

On May 15, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation denied a needed water quality permit for the controversial Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline, effectively putting an end to the epic three-year fight against the widely opposed project.

Unlike the decision handed down in May 2019, this decision is on the merits and Williams cannot reapply for a permit.  This is a HUGE grassroots victory in the fight to protect our ocean, the animals that inhabit it, the coastal communities that live on it, and the people who surf, swim, and fish in it.  Blocking this fracked gas pipeline is also an enormous win for the climate movement. 

  • On May 15th, 2019,  the NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) denied permits to Williams for the proposed NESE pipeline extension to connect through the New York Harbor, Raritan Bay and Rockaway Beach.
  • November 25, Governor Cuomo announced an agreement with National Grid to end the company’s self-imposed moratorium on gas hookups. National Grid has provided a plan to meet gas needs for the next two years, debunking its claim that the pipeline is needed for the 2020 winter heating season. If you, or someone you know, still has been refused a gas hookup by National Grid, a complaint can be filed with the Attorney General’s office here.   
  • October 17, 2019, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that Williams has applied to ocean dump contaminated sediment dredged from this project  The toxicity of this sediment, which includes copper and mercury, was a primary reason for the denial of the permit by the NYS DEC. The proposed dumping area is just 7.7 miles south of Rockaway Beach, the very waters that we swim and surf in.  
  • “We have taken a position: We’re against the pipeline,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show. “That’s our position.”
  • The latest Williams Pipeline comment period ended on July 13th. Over 25,000 comments were recorded in the latest application. This is in addition to 45,000 comments on the previous application. Over 90% of comments opposed the project.
  • The previous application was rejected by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in May 2019

What can you do to help?

Attend the public meetings in the coming months. We need to pack these meetings with hundreds of supporters to send a strong message to the Public Service Commission. Stay tuned for dates.

Call Governor Cuomo at 888-997-5380 and tell him to Stop the Williams Pipeline. Check back for updates as we continue to follow

Why did the DEC deny permits?

The DEC provided a notice of their denial of the Williams Pipeline. The report focused on the disruption of sediments, which would pollute water quality and contaminate wildlife habitats. It also cited Williams for failing to provide the Department reasonable assurance of mitigating these impacts.

What is the Williams Pipeline

It’s a 23-mile fracked gas pipeline planned by Williams Transco, an Oklahoma-based energy company with a poor safety record (10 explosions/fires). It’ll run under the seafloor from New Jersey to Rockaway and connect with the existing an existing pipeline, the Rockaway Lateral. The fracked gas will come from the Marsellus Shale region of New York and Pennsylvania.

Top Four Reasons To Oppose The Pipeline

  1. Climate Change 
  2. Shellfish Beds & Other Benthic Organisms 
  3. Construction Schedule 
  4. Contaminants & Sediments

Please check out the Stop The Williams Pipeline page for current updates and news.

Permits Rejected for the Williams Pipeline.

On May 16, 2019, after a nearly three-year fight against the Williams fracked gas pipeline, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation issued a rejection of the water quality permit to the dangerous and unnecessary Williams Transco NESE pipeline! 

This means the Williams Pipeline will not be moving forward at this time.

At every step, NYers have fought back to protect the health and safety of our communities from climate chaos. And we will continue to be vigil if and when this comes up again in the future. Stay tuned for more.

Rockaway Filmmaker, Per Anderson, documents the local opposition to the Williams Pipeline in short film, “Signature”

Williams v. People of New York Pipeline Showdown, Wednesday, May 8th, 12pm

The Williams Pipeline would carry fracked gas through New York harbor – threatening beach communities and marine life while worsening climate change. Cuomo has until May 16 to stop the pipeline and we need Long Island residents to call on him to do so.

Join us for a petition delivery and participatory theatrical demonstration of the movement to stop the Williams Pipeline. The showdown between Trump & Williams vs. New Yorkers will go down right outside Governor Cuomo’s Manhattan office.

@Cuomo’s office, 633 Third Ave, New York, NY

Testifying At The FERC Hearing

On February 26th and March 6th, the Department of Environmental Conservation held hearings to listen to the public’s comments on the Williams Pipeline. Representatives from Surfrider NYC, 350+ Brooklyn and others attended. Big thank you to all those who attended. Here’s a look:

350+ Brooklyn report refutes claim on consumption.

Campaign Update 4/25/19: Recent Press, Bloomberg

Campaign Update 4/24/19: Stop The Williams Pipeline March Well Attended

Over 500 citizens marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to show their opposition to the Williams Pipeline. They sent a message to Governor Cuomo that now is the time to take immediate action and revoke the permits for the Williams NESE pipeline. The march was led by youth and and indigenous partners


Campaign Update 3-19-19: ‘Monumental step backwards’ – the $1bn gas pipeline project dividing New York – The Guardian

A high level overview from the Guardian of the recent battle between Williams and opposing groups.

Campaign Update 3/7/19: Business groups say natural gas delivery has reached a crisis point. Crains New York Business

Ashley Fallon, Rockaway resident and Surfrider member, discusses why the pipeline is a problem.

Campaign Update 2/28/19: Spectrum Channel 1 News Coverage

Check out Spectrum Channel 1 News story on the Williams Pipeline.

Campaign Update 2/18/19: Article From The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast has published an article outlining the Williams Pipeline and the grassroots efforts to oppose it.

New York Harbor could become the Standing Rock of 2019.

“There’s no room for a fracked gas pipeline in a Green New Deal,” Lee Ziesche of the grassroots organization Sane Energy Project told The Daily Beast, referring to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s signature initiative. 

Such pipelines, Ziesche said, are triply bad, for reasons of climate, leaks, and fracking.

First, pipelines make fracked gas cheaper and thus make a shift to renewable energy—in New York, that mostly means wind and geothermal—comparatively more expensive. “Every bit of fracked gas infrastructure that we build keeps us going in the wrong direction for a very long time,” she said. That makes fracking a net loss for climate change. Moreover, while fracked gas is less climate-damaging than heating oil or coal, pipelines leak so much methane that any savings is more than wiped out.

Second, pipelines leak all the time. “There are two incidents reported every week from gas pipelines. Standing Rock has leaked, Keystone has leaked,” Ziesche said, referring to two of the most bitterly contested pipeline projects of the last several years. “Pipeline companies say they are safe, but there is plenty of evidence that they’re not.” In this case, any leak could threaten New York Harbor, and communities still recovering from Hurricane Sandy.

Third, the proposed pipeline is part of the fracking boom that has ravaged swaths of Pennsylvania, poisoning drinking water and leaking methane. “I’m from Pennsylvania,” Ziesche said. “I know the health impacts of fracking very personally.”
Indeed, New York itself banned fracking in 2014, citing health concerns. “The health commissioner said he wouldn’t want fracking underneath his family home,” Ziesche said, “but we’re saying it’s okay to frack people in Pennsylvania.”

The Daily Beast, The First Battle of the ‘Green New Deal’ Is the New York Pipeline Fight by Jay Michaelson, 2-23-19

Campaign Update 2-18-19

The Federal Energy Regulation Commission, who regulates all US electricity and natural gas sales, has already greenlit the project. The Impact Statement can be found here, FEIS has been greenlit.

Several statements have criticized the pipeline, not just for safety, but because New York is committed to decreasing its reliance on dirty energy and moving towards a greener approach. Stop the Williams Pipeline Coalition released a press release and NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer tweeted.

Campaign Update 10/15/18: Final Environmental Impact Statement Delayed

FERC, the Federal Agency Regulatory Commission, has pushed back its release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement of the Williams Pipeline from September 2018 to January 2019. This is good news because it means a delay in construction and more time to rally the opposition.

Campaign Update 7/24/18: Canvassing at NYCHA Housing in the Rockaways

Over twenty volunteers went door-to-door at the Ocean Bay Projects in Rockaway to gather signatures to petition against the Williams Pipeline. The effort proved to be successful as word spread around to this already battered frontline community. 89 doors knocked on and nearly 200 petition signatures obtained, plus great conversations were had with the residents, who clearly don’t want a pipeline built off of their beach.

Campaign Update 7/8/18: Full house at the All Borough Meeting at Brooklyn Commons

Speakers representing environmental groups across New York, as well as, citizens stood up and spoke out against the Williams Pipeline. This open dialogue has encouraged us to share our facts and helps get everyone on the same page. A well-coordinated defense is our best chance at winning this battle.

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Campaign Update 6/10/18

Williams’ application is before the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC), which expects to issue its Final Environmental Impact Statement in September 2018 and a decision on the pipeline in December 2018.

FERC, in all likelihood, will approve this project. But the project can’t move forward without several state permits. In April, the New York State Department of Environmental Protection denied a water quality certificate for this project, but the denial was without prejudice and Williams has already re-applied. We are asking Governor Cuomo to deny Williams the needed water quality certificate on the merits with prejudice. Denying these permits would eliminate the risks that this pipeline poses to the health, safety, finances, and future of New Yorkers.

Recap: Williams Pipeline Hearing on April 26th, 2018, 87 Citizens Testify

Map of the planned location of Williams Pipeline

Williams Pipeline Map

What Rockaway Residents Are Saying:

Stop the Williams Pipeline NY (NESE Pipeline) Campaign organized by 350BK, Surfrider NYC Chapter, Sane Energy Project, Food & Water Watch, New York Communities For Change, United For Action and NY/NJ Baykeeper.

6 Reasons Why The Williams Pipeline Is Bad For New Yorkers

1. Risks To Human Health, Marine Life
This pipeline will take more than a year to build, including periods where work would proceed around the clock. Its installation will churn up arsenic, lead, DDT, and PCBs from the sea floor. The noise and vibration from construction will also be harmful to humpback whales, oysters, clams, and the Atlantic sturgeon, an endangered species.

2. Leaked Fracked Gas Is A Particularly Bad Climate Actor
It’s essentially methane, a greenhouse gas that captures 84 times as much heat as carbon dioxide in the initial 20 years after it’s emitted. Building a new pipeline in areas ravaged by Superstorm Sandy is simply unconscionable. Hurricanes Harvey and Maria are horrifying reminders of the destructive force of storms in an age of warming temperatures. If we want to confront the threat of climate change, we must end our reliance on fossil fuels. 

3. The pipeline Undercuts State and City Promises On Climate
New York State is committed to a) getting 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and b) New York City is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. A new pipeline to carry fracked gas would undermine these commitments.  

4. Williams Has A Poor Safety Record
Since 2008, ten Williams/Transco pipelines and compressor stations have exploded and/or caught fire. The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has repeatedly fined Williams for violations of safety procedures. New Yorkers will be the first responders, placed in serious danger, in the event of a fire or explosion.

5. There’s No Need For Fracked Gas
Williams has not shown a need for this pipeline and there’s no evidence that New York City is in need of more gas. We should be investing in renewable forms of energy, such as wind and solar, rather than dirty fossil fuels.

6. New York Gas Customers Would Foot The Bill
Williams says this project would cost $926.5 million to build. If demand for the additional gas fails to materialize, National Grid’s customers in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island will be forced to pay for the project through higher rates.