With its reeds, ponds and marshes filled with hundreds of species of birds, Gateway National Recreation Area seems a world away from the brownstone-lined streets of Brooklyn.
But given the far-reaching boundaries of the , which stretches from Fort Greene to Bed-Stuy to south Queens, the debate over the future of this wildlife sanctuary recently injected itself into the very Brooklyn-centered race to replace longtime Rep. Edolphus "Ed" Towns.
“This is the thin end of the wedge in New York,” said Green Party candidate and Clinton Hill resident , who along with Republican Alan Bellone, will face off against Democratic Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries in November.
In a statement earlier this week, Beavan came out strongly against a bill in Congress that would clear the way for construction of the Rockaway Lateral pipeline through Gateway that would link the city to natural gas obtained through the controversial process of hydrofracking.
"This is the mountaintop removal of the Northeast—and it’s not even a good energy strategy for the state or the nation," Beavan said.
The bill, H.R. 2606, would allow pipeline construction in national parkland—in this case through Gateway, which encompasses not only a wildlife sanctuary strattling Jamaica Bay, but also Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn and a public beach.
Jeffries, long considered a favorite to take the seat vacated by fellow Democrat Towns, expressed his own concerns about the bill, which is currently being considered by a Senate subcommittee.
"There are legitimate issues that have been raised about the process in which this legislation passed the House of Representatives, as well as the important concerns about its environmental impact," Jeffries said in a statement. "I urge the Senate to exercise caution and commence hearings to ensure that the full implications of this bill are understood by the public before moving forward."
As the central figure in the documentary, "No Impact Man," Beavan offered a different perspective on the debate—one in which a complete rethinking of the nation's dependence on fossil fuels was in order.
“Currently, our national energy policy benefits the multi-national energy corporations, not the people of my district or the country,” he said.