Williams Pipeline Saga Ends, But the Fight to Phase Out Gas Continues

After three attempts to get permits for its pipeline project failed, Williams Companies Inc claims it’s walking away. But as other companies seek to expand fracked gas infrastructure in New York, activists say the fight feels far from over.

williams pipeline rally

Jeff Reed/NYC Council

A rally against the proposed Williams pipeline on the steps of City Hall in March 2019.

Since 2017, environmental activists have been battling attempts to build the Williams Pipeline, a gas infrastructure project that would start in Pennsylvania, make its way through New Jersey and end in New York City’s Rockaways.

Now, the company claims the saga has finally come to an end. Williams Companies Inc, the entity responsible for the proposal, notified state authorities last month that it would let a 2019 federal permit that green-lit the project expire on May 3, and would not be seeking an extension.

And despite celebrating the decision as a victory, activists say the fight to end the expansion of fracked gas infrastructure across the state continues.

“The Williams pipeline may have been defeated. But the fight has shifted,” said Sara Gronim from the environmental non-profit 350 Brooklyn, which vehemently opposed the expansion over the years. “There are other forces in the natural gas industry in New York that have not yet recognized that New York State is moving off gas.”

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