West Side gas pipeline gets federal approval

October 21, 2013 12:30PM

A controversial pipeline that will carry natural gas under the West Village and Chelsea has won federal approval, prompting an outcry from neighborhood residents who fear the pipeline could cause an explosion and contaminate the environment.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday allowed the builder of the pipeline, Texas-based Spectra Energy, to begin pumping gas on Nov. 1, according to a letter from commission director Lauren O’Donnell. The pipeline’s Manhattan route runs along 10th Avenue between Gansevoort and West 15th Streets.

The companies behind the pipeline have “adequately stabilized areas disturbed by construction” and “restoration is proceeding satisfactorily,” O’Donnell wrote in the letter, seen by DNAinfo.

Residents told DNAinfo that they were troubled by the decision. “It’s so disappointing,” Bill Borock, president of the Council of Chelsea Block Associations, said. “The gas companies say don’t worry, but we don’t have any assurances when big weather and flooding happens.”

But a Spectra spokesperson said that residents should be reassured by the company’s track record. “Spectra Energy has been operating safely in the region for more than 60 years,” spokesperson Marylee Hanley said. “The New York-New Jersey Expansion Project was built to meet or exceed all federal safety requirements and regulations.” [DNAinfo]  – Hiten Samtani