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Long Island Advocacy Groups Spar Over Natural Gas Pipeline

David Mark from Pixabay

Long Island businesses and labor unions are calling on New York State to approve a new natural gas pipeline to match, what they say is, a growing demand for energy.

The Northeast Supply Enhancement project would bring natural gas from Pennsylvania into New York City and Long Island.

Opponents to the pipeline say the construction would harm marine life and is counterproductive to the state’s carbon-free energy goal.

Robert Wood, an organizer with 350 Brooklyn, an environmental advocacy group that opposes the pipeline, says the demand for natural gas has flatlined and is counterproductive to the state’s carbon-free energy goal.

“These pipelines are intended to be around for 40 and 50 years and so if you do the math, it starts becoming really hard to see how this wouldn’t be a stranded asset.”

Kyle Strober, executive director of the Association for a Better Long Island, a business advocacy group, argues that the pipeline is a step in the process.

“There is no one here who is standing before you that’s against renewable energy or moving forward towards renewable energy. But this project is necessary to build a bridge ‘til we get to that.”

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation will decide in the coming weeks whether construction will be allowed to begin this year.

Natural gas provider National Grid says it will have to suspend new residential service if New York doesn’t approve the pipeline.

Jay Shah is a former Long Island bureau chief at WSHU.