'They're liars': activists say Brooklyn residents were not informed of fracked gas pipeline
Pati Rodriguez grew up in Bushwick, a historically industrial, predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. She has worked as a community organizer for years, and at 38, she knows the neighborhood inside and out. So she was surprised last year to learn about a natural gas pipeline being built a block away from her daughter’s school, more than two years after its construction had begun.
Rodriguez says she learned about the Metropolitan Reliability Infrastructure (MRI) project – more often referred to as the North Brooklyn pipeline by local activists – from the anti-fracking advocacy group Sane Energy Project, which for the last year has held neighborhood meetings to raise awareness of the construction.
“I’m a community organizer,” said Rodriguez. “So if I didn’t know about it, then obviously other people didn’t know about it.”
National Grid, the public utility company behind the pipeline, has already completed the first four phases of construction, and says it did community outreach in neighborhoods that would be affected. But residents like Rodriguez dispute the claim, saying they only learned about the project in 2019 because of local environmentalist groups. (National Grid did not respond to the Guardian’s request for comment on this matter.)
Those groups – like the Sane Energy Project and Frack Outta Brooklyn – are calling on local officials to stop the pipeline, and say the project – which is meant to funnel fracked natural gas from Pennsylvania to existing infrastructure in north Brooklyn – is another example of environmental racism taking place in Black and brown communities.