Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo blocked the building of a pipeline that would have run from New Jersey to Long Island, after outcry from climate campaigners. (Photo: @foe_us/Twitter)

Major Victory for Climate Campaigners as NY Gov. Cuomo Rejects 'Dangerous' Williams Pipeline

"Along with our allies, we will continue to ensure this reckless project is shelved forever."

Grassroots climate campaigners in New York celebrated a major victory late Wednesday as Gov. Andrew Cuomo blocked the construction of a $1 billion pipeline which would have carried fracked gas from New Jersey to Long Island.

The 24-mile Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) project, proposed by the Oklahoma-based Williams Company, has been the subject of protests by groups including and Food and Water Watch.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) supported concerns brought up by opponents of the project when it ruled that construction of the pipeline would endanger marine life and release mercury and copper from sediment in the New York Bay and Raritan Bay.

"Construction of the NESE pipeline project is projected to result in water quality violations and fails to meet New York State's rigorous water quality standards," the agency said in a statement.

"The state has made it clear that dangerous gas pipelines have no place in New York," said Kim Ong, an attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), in a statement. "This is a victory for clean water, marine life, communities, and people's health across the state."

Food and Water Watch called the decision "a step in the right direction," but warned campaigners will need to remain vigilant "to be sure [the pipeline] is never built!"

"Let's be clear: people power will make sure the Williams fracked gas pipeline is never built, and people power will build real solutions to the climate crisis," said Cata Romo, an organizer with "New York has the potential to be a national model for real climate leadership, and this decision will reverberate across the U.S. and around the world. To build a transformative Green New Deal that science and justice deem necessary, Governor Cuomo must stop the Williams pipeline permanently and implement a sweeping ban on fossil fuel projects across New York."

The grassroots alliance Stop the Williams Pipeline this month had called on lawmakers, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), to help block the project.

Just before the Cuomo administration handed down its decision, Ocasio-Cortez and other New York lawmakers signed a letter demanding that the pipeline construction be canceled.

"We stand ready to help the state of New York transition to renewable energy sources that will not jeopardize the public and environmental health of our region," reads the letter.

The DEC specified that the decision was made "without prejudice," meaning the Williams Company would be able to reapply—but the corporation would have to prove it would take steps to prevent the disruption of shellfish beds and the release of hazardous metals.

High levels of mercury in drinking water can damage the brain, kidneys, and developing fetuses, while copper poisoning can cause gastrointestinal illnesses and liver problems.

The NRDC vowed to fight any future attempt by Williams to move ahead with the project.

"Along with our allies, we will continue to ensure this reckless project is shelved forever," said Ong.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

'The Filibuster Must Go': Senate GOP Blocks Debate on Voting Rights Bill

"Democrats in the Senate can have a functional democracy or the filibuster, but not both."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·

Key Senate Democrat Applauded for Manifesto on Reducing Drug Costs

"Sen. Wyden's drug pricing principles are a road map for taking on the greed of pharmaceutical corporations and lowering drug prices for all Americans."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·

Coalition of 200+ Groups Call for Permanent End to 'Neocolonialist' Global Gag Rule

"The global community deserves true partnership from the U.S., but the threat that this destructive policy could reemerge undermines relationships and harms people around the globe."

Julia Conley, staff writer ·

Social Cost of Emissions: 'One of the Most Important Numbers That No One Has Ever Heard Of'

An analysis for Friends of the Earth finds the social cost of CO2 calculates to at least 15 times the Biden administration's current figure, which is set to be finalized by early next year.

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·