New York Post published an op-ed by GAIN spokesman Craig Stevens regarding the importance of natural gas and the need for reliable energy infrastructure – starting with the Williams Co. Transco expansion known as the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project. Long Islanders were recently notified that if the expansion is not approved by May 15, natural gas provider National Grid will not be able to provide fuel for new customers. They aren’t alone either – energy company Con Ed imposed a similar moratorium in parts of Westchester County as a result of limited pipeline capacity.
Stevens points out that these crises are completely unavoidable, and a product of ideological politics:
This isn’t the first time political hurdles and bureaucracy have stalled pipeline construction in New York. The Constitution Pipeline, which was to carry natural gas 124 miles from Pennsylvania’s booming shale fields to consumers in New York, has been stalled for six years despite being approved by federal regulators in 2014. New York officials have used their authority under the Clean Water Act to prevent the much-needed infrastructure project from moving forward.
For too long, politicians like Gov. Andrew Cuomo and their ill-considered energy policies have hampered the development of safe, efficient energy infrastructure, subjecting American consumers to unnecessarily high energy costs and unreliable service. According to the Global Energy Institute, since 2010, New York’s statewide ban on fracking and opposition to new pipeline construction have led to a loss of more than $22 billion in GDP, nearly 200,000 full-time-equivalent job years and almost $5 billion in tax revenue.
Fortunately, President Trump recently signed two executive orders seeking to streamline the construction of much-needed energy infrastructure. Stevens notes emphasizes the importance of natural gas, and its importance in New York, writing:
Whether environmental activists like it or not, natural gas is an essential fuel in our everyday lives. Natural gas is responsible for generating more than 30 percent of the country’s electricity. It is used to heat buildings and water, cook and dry clothes.
New York state is the fifth-largest natural-gas consumer for electric-power generation. More than one-third of its electric-generating capacity relies on natural gas or fuel oil. More than 60 percent of electric-generating capacity installed in 2018 was fueled by natural gas.
The safest, most efficient and most environmentally conscious method of transporting natural gas is by pipeline. Despite this, environmental activists continue to move the goal posts.
Not long ago, activists backed natural gas, a clean-burning fuel largely responsible for reducing US carbon emissions even as global emissions climb. Now, some fringe activists protest that Cuomo — one of the staunchest opponents of energy infrastructure around — isn’t sufficiently anti-infrastructure. Where does it end?
Stevens concludes that New York must catch up with states like Ohio and Pennsylvania that have embraced the natural-gas boom and are reaping the great economic benefits. The op-ed concludes by calling on Gov. Cuomo’s administration to end its crusade against energy infrastructure.