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Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline by Williams Transco, US

The proposed construction of the Williams Co. NESE Pipeline would have negatively impacted the marine environment & environmental justice communities in NY & NJ. The costly project would rely on antiquated fossil fuels and exacerbate climate change.


Williams Transco, an Oklahoma based energy company, proposed to construct the Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline (NESE), a 23-mile fracked methane gas pipeline that would carry methane from Pennsylvania across the Lower Bay of New York’s harbor. This project was canceled in 2020: the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) denied the permits, as the project  did not meet the state’s rigorous water quality standards [10]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline by Williams Transco, US
Country:United States of America
State or province:New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey
Location of conflict:Staten Island, Brooklyn, NY; The Rockaways, NY; Lancaster County, PA, Middlesex County, NJ
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Shale gas fracking
Specific commodities:Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline would have transported 900,000 barrels of heating oil annually and served approximately 8,000 National Grid customers in New York City and Long Island [14]. The estimated cost of construction was $926.5 million.

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Project area:36.5 miles
Level of Investment:$926.5 Million if constructed
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:Residents of Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, NY; Franlin and South Brunswick, NJ
Start of the conflict:2017
End of the conflict:2020
Company names or state enterprises:Williams Transco from United States of America
Relevant government actors:NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo (Democrat)
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)
NJ Governor Phil Murphy (Democrat)
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:350 Brooklyn
New York Communities for Change (
Food and Water Watch ( (
Surfrider Foundation (
Sane Energy Project (
Rockaway Beach Civic Association (
NYNJ Baykeeper
Stop the Williams Pipeline
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local government/political parties
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Soil contamination, Other Environmental impacts, Food insecurity (crop damage)
Other Environmental impactsRe-suspension of toxins residing in seafloor. Disruption to coastal habitat and behaviors of marine fauna.
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Other socio-economic impacts
Other socio-economic impactsIncrease in natural gas prices for community residents.
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Project cancelled
Project temporarily suspended
The NESE pipeline permit was rejected by the NYS DEC on May 15, 2020. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) said the construction of the project would not meet the state’s rigorous water quality standards [10]. While Williams Transco has stated that they do not plan to continue with this pipeline at the moment, it is possible that they could present a new proposal in future years.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:As a result of high public opposition and the actions of the NYS DEC, the pipeline permit was denied on May 15, 2020 by the NYS DEC. The DEC said the construction of the project would not meet the state’s rigorous water quality standards [10]. Next steps have not been announced by the company.
Sources & Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] Stop the Williams Pipeline
[click to view]

[2] Talking Points: The Williams Pipeline Will Not Help NYCHA’s Heating Problems
[click to view]

[3] Central Jersey Safe Energy Coalition 2017 Northeast Supply Enhancement Plan
[click to view]

[5] NESE Fact Sheet 6: Follow the Money, October 2018
[click to view]

[4] Middlesex County Freeholders Get Involved in Transco Pipeline Debate, 2017.
[click to view]

[6] NESE Fact Sheet 4: A Toxic Environment, July 2018
[click to view]

[7] NESE Fact Sheet 3: The Impact on Marine Life, June 2018
[click to view]

[8] NESE Fact Sheet 5: William's Safety Record, September 2018
[click to view]

[9] Stop the Williams Pipeline
[click to view]

[10] Reuters (2020, May 15). New York denies PA-NY Williams Northeast Supply Natgas pipe. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Stop the Williams Pipeline in New York Harbor
[click to view]

Tell Governor Cuomo to Stop the Williams Pipeline in the NY/NJ Harbor (NY)
[click to view]

Hunger Strike: Stop the Williams Pipeline
[click to view]

Cuomo: Stop the Williams Pipeline Once and For All
[click to view]

Stop the Williams Pipeline
[click to view]

Stop the Williams Pipeline
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Sarah Gordon, Skidmore College, [email protected]; Siddharth Nizamuddin, Skidmore College; Amity Wilson, Skidmore College; Andrew Schneller, Skidmore College.
Last update13/11/2020
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