March 19, 2019

Rigorous report proves lack of need for Williams fracked gas pipeline

Day before 1000+ #GreenNewDeal4NY Forum, analysis shows manufactured false demand around the dangerous proposed “Northeast Supply Enhancement” (NESE) project

New York, NY — A technical report released today shows the proposed Williams fracked gas “Northeast Supply Enhancement” pipeline (NESE) is not only dangerous, but also completely unnecessary. The report, False Demand: The case against the Williams fracked gas pipeline,” shows how Williams Company and its main customer National Grid have manufactured false demand that the pipeline is needed to convert boilers from oil to gas, while most oil boiler conversions are already complete and mainstream alternatives to new gas hookups abound.  

Williams is proposing a 23-mile-long pipeline beginning in New Jersey into New York Harbor, passing a mile and a half from Staten Island off Rockaway Beach, the very communities most devastated and still recovering from Superstorm Sandy. The company argues that oil-to-gas boiler conversions are driving increased gas demand.

“The public deserves better scrutiny of this pipeline project. The arguments from Williams and the utility don’t make sense, and the numbers don’t add up. New York’s energy future depends on our government making the right decision. This report is a first step,” said Suzanne Mattei, consultant with Lookout Hill Public Policy Associates, former Regional Director of the State Department of Environmental Conservation, and author of the report.

The “False Demand” report shines a spotlight on the questionable motivation behind National Grid’s announcement that, beginning May 15, it would impose a moratorium on providing gas to large development projects if the pipeline isn’t approved, similar to Con-Ed’s moratorium in Westchester County.

Using government and company data, the report explains, among other things, that:

  1. All No. 6 oil boilers converted to another fuel years ago
  2. NYCHA housing stopped using No. 6 and 4 oils at least a decade ago
  3. Very few No. 4 boilers remain in National Grid’s service area and many can convert to a non-gas alternative
  4. Williams has already added large amounts of gas capacity to the area in the past three years.
  5. Gas demand is flat, largely because of increases in energy efficiency and the use of renewables. A new pipeline is not needed.

New Yorkers have been ramping up the call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to use his power to protect communities and reject the pipeline immediately. Over 60 elected officials have signed a letter urging Gov. Cuomo to reject the Williams pipeline, along with over 16,000 petition signatures, more than 250 New York groups, and over 10,000 comments submitted to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) in opposition of the pipeline. NYDEC is expected to rule on key permits for the pipeline in the coming weeks.

“This report utterly rejects Williams’ playbook of disinformation and holding our communities’ energy needs hostage,” said Cata Romo, Fossil Free NY organizer with “Stopping the Williams pipeline is Governor Cuomo’s first major test on his commitment to a Green New Deal for New York. We need fast and just transition to 100% renewable energy, not toxic and outdated pipelines.”

Williams Company has a disturbing safety record, with six people killed and over 100 injured because of accidents in the last 10 years.

Today’s report comes before tomorrow’s massive #GreenNewDeal4NY Accountability Forum where New Yorkers will question key elected officials on what they’re doing to deliver climate action, including stopping the Williams fracked gas pipeline. Organizers will escalate the call on Governor Cuomo to reject the toxic pipeline in the lead-up to the April 18 march over the Brooklyn Bridge ahead of Earth Day.


“New York City will go underwater while baking in heat waves and being hit by worse hurricanes than Sandy if the Williams NESE pipeline and other fracked gas projects like it are built,” said Rachel Rivera, a Sandy survivor and member of New York Communities for Change (NYCC). “Williams’ CEO Alan Armstrong made about $10 million last year while helping put my family in the shelter system after Sandy. Governor Cuomo should stand up for the people and stop WIlliams.”

“We have known the facts for years from scientists and financial analysts that the fracked gas industry is vulnerable, yet creates false narratives to keep the investor shell game moving for continued investment in stranded assets,” said Kim Fraczek, Director of Sane Energy. “The Williams Co. cunning motion to deceive the public into keeping fossil fuels in power will hopefully come to an end with the right leadership. Governor Cuomo has the support of a global movement to invest in the renewable economy and deny this pipeline proposal.”

“This report proves what we have suspected all along: that claims of a need for the Williams NESE pipeline are nothing more than the manipulative tactics of an industry desperately trying to preserve an obsolete business model, running on fossil fumes,” said Robert Wood with 350Brooklyn. “We cannot allow our climatic fate to be determined by corporate convenience, particularly when it involves a guaranteed 14% return on equity for a project that isn’t even needed and that would inflict such vast social and ecological costs. Governor Cuomo’s choices have never been clearer: a pointless pipeline that would destroy our harbor and line the pockets of a dying industry, or a renewable future for New York. It’s up to him.”
“This report shows that there is no need for the Williams NESE fracked gas pipeline. Governor Cuomo should deny the permits and stop the Williams pipeline for good,” said Alex Beauchamp, Northeast Region Director of Food & Water Watch.
“New Yorkers are fighting for a greener, more sustainable future, but the proposed Williams pipeline represents a monumental step backwards from the vision. This report dismantles Williams’ arguments and makes a clear and convincing case that better alternatives exist,” said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. “Rather than enhance the energy infrastructure of yesterday, our City must instead do all that it can to transition to renewable energy sources and promote greater energy efficiency. I am proud to stand with activists and environmentalists, as well as New Yorkers from across the city, to reject the Williams pipeline.”


For more on the fight to stop the Williams pipeline, explore this media pack and visit

Contact: Lindsay Meiman, [email protected], (347) 460-9082