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Marine Park is fuming over proposed gas pipeline

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A two-mile stretch of Flatbush Avenue and a huge swath of Floyd Bennett Field will be ripped apart to make way for a natural gas pipeline that environmentalists say would be a horrific use of Brooklyn’s only national park.

National Grid wants to lay a two-foot wide pipeline along Flatbush Avenue from Avenue U to a proposed new meter station slated to be built inside an existing hangar at Floyd Bennett Field. The pipeline, which will be buried 30 to 80 feet below ground, would tap into a major natural gas supply line off the Rockaway Peninsula.

But critics say the $265 million pipeline and its meter station, should not be routed through Floyd Bennett Field — an urban oasis used by birders, sports teams and campers.

“It’s outrageous!” said Dorothy Turano, the district manager of Community Board 18, whose members unanimously rejected the proposal in January.

“An urban national park should not house a hangar full of material for a pipeline.”

Glenn Phillips, the executive director of the New York City Audubon Society — who works with threatened bird species at Floyd Bennett Field — said he applauds more natural gas coming to the borough, but feels a pipeline through Floyd Bennett Field could be devastating to the surrounding wildlife.

“Any major construction project in or near natural areas has a risk of damaging those places in the process,” Phillips said.

Yet two Brooklyn lawmakers backing the project say the pipeline would bring clean energy as well as more than 300 construction jobs to the borough.

“It allows for the private sector to create local jobs — without any federal spending — while bringing clean, affordable energy to [Brooklyn’s] residents and businesses,” said Rep. Michael Grimm (R–Bay Ridge) who, along with Rep. Bob Turner (R–Sheepshead Bay) voted for the project that required federal approval because it was going through a national park.

“It is the perfect example of how government should work.”

Calls to the National Parks Service were not returned.

But the project is far from assured: the bill still has to be approved by the Senate. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also has to sign off on it.

National Grid spokeswoman Karen Young said the current route under Flatbush Avenue is the most direct path to the Williams Companies’s off-shore supply line and would be the least disruptive one for those living along the pipeline route.

“Alternate routes would require more construction and have greater impacts [on residents],” Young said.

National Grid draws approximately 50 percent of its natural gas from the massive Atlantic Ocean supply line — which stretches from the Gulf Coast to the Rockaways — using a connection that runs through Long Island. Young said the new pipeline, the company’s first in 50 years, would deliver 10 percent more gas to its 1.2 million customers in Brooklyn and Queens.

Williams Companies spokesman Chris Stockton said the company and National Grid would work closely with the National Parks Service to ensure the pipeline plan, which is backed by the Bloomberg administration, meets federal safety standards and doesn’t harm the environment.

“[Our environmental impact study will] thoroughly address all natural and culture resource concerns associated with the preferred pipeline route,” Stockton said. “It is important to us to balance environmental impacts.”

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at

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Reader Feedback

Gene B. from Sheepshead Bay says:
Your headline is very misleading. In reading the article, I didn't see mention of any "fuming" by Marine Park residents. The only quotes are from Ms. Turano and the head of the Audobon Society. If the headline would've said CB18 is fuming, that's one thing, but to single out a neighborhood as fuming? Not accurate.
Feb. 21, 2012, 2:19 pm
Bob from Gerritsen Beach says:
I live adjacent to Marine Park and I have no problem with National Grid putting in a needed new pipeline. There will always be naysayers regarding any issue but a community board leader and an Audubon Society spokesperson does not constitute a community fuming. We have enough problems in this city without a newspaper creating an issue where none exists.
Feb. 21, 2012, 6:10 pm
George from Mill Basin says:
To be fair, I am no fan of Courier-Life, but the writer did note: "...Dorothy Turano, the district manager of Community Board 18, whose members unanimously rejected the proposal in January." Members of CB18, to me, constitute as representative members of the community.
Feb. 21, 2012, 8:46 pm
Janice from Marine Park says:
Very interesting that Floyd Bennett is so fussy about who gets a permit, that you can't take a dog on a leash in their North 40, that Four Sparrows had a Forever Wild sign up years ago, but they can't wait to put in a new car lot, a Walmart, or dig up two miles of old salt marsh. Money speaks.
Feb. 21, 2012, 9:52 pm
Tinman from Sheepshead Bay says:
Another reason why local politics took a Turner for the worse when Anthony Weiner made some foolish mistakes.
Gas line should run under Turner's residence living room!
Feb. 22, 2012, 7:48 pm
George from Mill Basin says:
Hey Tinman -- Does this mean you're of the mind that we should continue to rely on fuel from our country's sworn enemies throughout the Middle East? If we could tap into our own natural resources, don't you think that would be better?
Feb. 22, 2012, 10:39 pm
Steve from Gerritsen Beach says:
No mention is made about the money Turner took from this company.
Feb. 23, 2012, 7:48 pm
Tinman from Sheepshead Bay says:
Yo, Georgie, read the comment below yours. Money talks.
Until we find a way to use natural resources safely or until Americans drastically cutback on their driving habits and electric use, Americans will remain over a barrel when it comes to fuel.
Ask Gulf Coast residents how they feel about the domestic oil spill that upset their lives for so long.
You want a pipeline, great, let's make sure it goes under your dwelling. Don't you think that would be best?
Feb. 24, 2012, 7:52 pm
joey from georgetowne says:
Floyd Bennet Field is an underused mosquito sanctuary. There is no wildlife sans raccoons, opossums, and the released pheasants (to control the tick infestation). It is not a bird sanctuary, especially with the NYPD Aviation Unit's helicopters landing and taking off constantly.

The facilities should be housed in Hanger 2, the old shooting range for the NYPD, that was left in disarray and full of toxic lead dust. The city won't foot the bill for this environmental disaster, maybe NatGrid will.

Maybe this could the Park Police to work. What do they need about 30 cops/civilian aides to guard what? Some sewerage tainted sand along the shore.

I say CB18 should ok the work.
Feb. 28, 2012, 12:37 pm
George from Marine Park says:
Step Down Dottie
Feb. 29, 2012, 2:35 pm
Joe from Marine Park says:
I think that the pipeline is a great idea, however (unless we get the army corp. of engineers) construction crews are infamous for not doing the job in a timely matter or well enough at all. The last thing the city needs is us having a huge environmental problem in Marine Park.
March 20, 2012, 12:43 pm

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