Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo appears to be at cross purposes with himself when it comes to natural gas.
In an editorial published Aug. 31, the New York Post said he is putting more pressure on National Grid to sign up new customers in sections of Brooklyn, Long Island and Queens. The Post wrote that Mr. Cuomo has directed the Department of Public Service to “broaden its investigation” of National Grid and is threatening to “find another franchisee.”
In May, the state denied a water-quality permit for the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project. The Williams natural gas pipeline would be constructed underwater through the Raritan and New York bays. The state Department of Environmental Conservation said the pipeline would imperil the quality of water at these points.
“National Grid and Williams Cos., its construction partner, insist a 23.5-mile conduit is essential to address shortages and meet growing demand,” according to an Aug. 27 story published by Crain’s New York Business. “Environmentalists disputed the need for the project and pointed to environmental dangers for the 17-mile section that would run underwater.”
National Grid informed state authorities that the pipeline is necessary to expand its services. When this permit was denied, the company began declining to connect new customers.
“National Grid gave months of warning that it would need to impose the moratorium if fresh supplies weren’t ensured,” the Post wrote in its editorial. “Con Ed did the same in advance of its recent new-biz moratorium in most of Westchester, which was also prompted in good part by the nixing of new pipelines. This is the point of the yearslong green war on pipelines: You can’t burn gas or oil you can’t get.
“But would-be consumers are, of course, furious. Which leaves Cuomo and like-minded pols blaming the utilities. Hence the gov’s ‘broadened investigation’ — which is supposed to find, what? That National Grid doesn’t want more customers? Much of the public eats it up when pols bash utilities. But it won’t change the facts. Give the franchise to another company, and it still won’t be able to conjure fuel out of the air.”
The Cuomo administration has adopted a bizarre approach to natural gas. Many New Yorkers take advantage of its financial and environmental benefits over other fossil fuels.
But the administration banned fracking in 2014, compelling suppliers to continue transporting it here from out of state. This was a dismal decision as New York is blessed with an abundance of natural gas lying underneath the Marcellus Shale of its southern tier. We could get as much natural gas as necessary to fill increased demand throughout the state, and the economic rewards would be tremendous.
But the governor put the kibosh on extracting our own natural gas, and he’s now cut off additional supplies. Curiously, he’s angry that National Grid won’t sign up new customers who need this extra fuel.
We support Mr. Cuomo’s goal of moving the state toward more renewable energy. But this will take time, and New Yorkers still need dependable sources of power to provide basic living needs.
Mr. Cuomo is perturbed that some senior citizens and low-income families may be without heat as temperatures drop. But he’s the one thwarting Con Ed and National Grid from delivering the natural gas they need to perform this function.
“The United States is now the world’s top energy producer,” according to the Post. “There’s no reason for any kind of power or fuel shortage in New York, but the Con Ed and National Grid moratoriums are merely a taste of what’s coming.”
Mr. Cuomo created this crisis, and he shouldn’t be pointing fingers at other parties. He has only himself to blame.