What you need to know about The Gansevoort Peninsula

Spectra is applying for permits to begin construction as early as June. There are two crucial permissions Spectra needs for the Gansevoort Peninsula in the West Village, where they want to bury their pipeline. One is an easement from the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT), the other two permits from DOT (Department of Transportation), which looks to local community boards for input. We urge you to let the community board, and HRPT, know where you stand. It is crucial to have a big response here.

The Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) is the entity which oversees the Gansevoort Peninsula and the parkland along the river, including Pier 40 (Chelsea Piers). Spectra seeks a 30-year easement along the southern edge of the peninsula and in lands underwater where its pipe would be laid. See the draft Easement Agreement

Big things are in the works for the Gansevoort Peninsula, but poor planning abounds. If the Sanitation Department can be relocated, one redesign proposes a recreational area with a large grass lawn and rocky beach open to the public. However, objections from residents near the proposed relocation site still need to be addressed, and how much community support can be expected for a park built on top of a potentially explosive pipeline?

It’s bad enough that the pipeline route runs within 300 feet of an existing large playground, on the pier just south of the Gansevoort Peninsula (photo, below). The other ill-considered bit of urban planning is the pipeline’s proximity to the new $19,000,000 Marine Fire Station, which sits on a pier attached to the same spit of land. Its new $27 million fireboat, “Three Forty Three,” is named in honor of the 343 firefighters who died on duty at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

In addition to design issues, the Hudson River Park Trust is in dire financial shape, with predictions of a budget shortfall looming and Pier 40 in desperate need of reconstruction. But now Texas Eastern (the Spectra subsidiary which will build the pipe) has agreed to pay $2.7 million for the easement property. Not that $2.7 million is a small sum, but is the equivalent of a snazzy 2BR condo really worth the health and safety of the West Village?

Guess who’s on the board of governance for the HRPT? NYC mayor, Michael Bloomberg (who has a penchant for multi-million dollar gifting); Andrew Cuomo, Diana Taylor, and the deputy mayor, among other Bloomberg supporters. As you know, Bloomberg is the biggest booster behind this pipeline, and has been more and more vocal about his desire for upstate New York to get fracked.

But guess who’s also on the HRPT board? Manhattan Borough president, Scott Stringer, who has, more than any other politician, pushed FERC to take the whole picture into account on this pipeline. Stringer has called on FERC to include the cumulative impacts of shale gas delivery in the final EIS, and demanded that Spectra rescind its agreement with Chesapeake and Statoil. However, Stringer still believes the city needs additional gas capacity. Please let Scott Stringer know that you want the next mayor of New York to move beyond the fossil fuel dependence of the past directly into renewable energy, that you do not support the Spectra pipeline project, and that you hope he will show leadership in directing the HRPT away from this easement.

We hope that all decision makers at the Trust are open to hearing what the community has to say about this pipeline. A public hearing will take place on on Monday, March 26th, 5-8pm, at the Village Community School Auditorium, 272 West 10th Street (corner of Washington, one block east of the West Side Highway).

If you cannot attend, comments  may be sent until April 25th by regular mail to: Laurie Silberfeld, Esq., Hudson River Park Trust, Pier 40, 2nd Floor, 353 West Street, New York, N.Y. 10014 or by email to gansevoorteasement@hrpt.ny.gov.

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