House of Reps Approves Three-Mile Gas Pipeline Through Brooklyn and Queens

02/09/2012 3:14 PM |

Congressman Michael Grimm, sponsor of the pipeline bill.
  • Congressman Michael Grimm, sponsor of the pipeline bill.

Oil pipelines have been getting a lot of press lately. That canceled, politically controversial Keystone XL project would have stretched 1,700 miles from the Albertan tar oil sands down to the Gulf of Mexico, if it weren’t for those pesky environmentalists and concerned Nebraskans. But last night, a bill approving a three-mile natural gas pipeline traversing under Jacob Riis Park “quietly sailed through the House of Representatives,” reported NY1.

According to NY1, the project fits into Mayor Bloomberg’s ambitious, environmentally progressive PlaNYC strategy, a series of initiatives started in 2007 to streamline our city into a more efficient, sustainable organism. Congressman Joseph Crowley told the floor that the pipeline would help in substituting cleaner gas alternatives for heavily polluting and harmful number 4 and number 6 heating oil, which the city began phasing out last year. But that doesn’t quite tell the whole story. The told the Daily News“>Daily News points out that the bill’s sponsors have come under criticism for what Meredith McGehee, policy director of the Campaign Legal Center, calls “a system of legalized bribery.”

Bill sponsor and Tea Party darling Rep. Michael Grimm of Staten Island received $3,000 in campaign donations from Williams Companies and National Grid late last year, and bill co-sponsor, Rep. Gregory Meeks of Queens, has received $2,500 since July from congressional lobbyists pushing for the pipeline. The Daily News also points out that this isn’t the first time Grimm has received campaign donations coordinated with favorable legislation—in 2011, Grimm submitted a piece of legislation to end a 10% tax on the tanning industry, for which he received $9,000 from indoor tanning companies.

Last night, Grimm told the floor that the Gateway Pipeline would generate $265 million in construction activity, as well as 300 local jobs. The pipeline would connect to a larger one in the Atlantic Ocean and run underneath the Gateway National Recreation Area, with a regulation station at Floyd Bennett Field. The bill has yet to be approved by Charles Schumer, as well as the Senate, still in the process of review.

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