NYC Chapter

Stop The Williams Pipeline

Current Situation

On May 16th,  the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) denied permits to Williams for the proposed NESE pipeline extension through the New York Harbor, Raritan Bay and Rockaway Beach.

  • On May 29th, Williams reapplied for permits. The DEC will make their final permitting decision before May 2020.
  • “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

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.

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.


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.


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

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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

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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.