Extreme Energy Policies Boost Kremlin, Burden New Englanders

As America’s shale revolution continues to deliver energy savings and enhance U.S. security, radical policies blocking key infrastructure projects are choking off New England’s access to reliable, domestic natural gas.

Thanks to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and “Keep it in the Ground” activists, consumers in the Northeast are starved of the energy they need when they need it most, MSC’s David Spigelmyer writes in the Providence Journal this week.

Rather than turning to reliable resources just a few states away, New England’s demand is largely met through importing natural gas from the Caribbean,” Spigelmyer wrote. “With New England relying on natural gas to produce half of the region’s electricity, an overreliance on imported fuel results in shortages and severe price spikes during high-demand periods.”

As a result of this energy blockade, New England consumers are forced to bear some of the nation’s highest energy costs. “Due to the gas infrastructure constraints,” the New England Independent System Operator concluded in a new report, the region faces rolling blackouts, system outages, and severe reliability issues moving forward.

New England’s demand for natural gas, however, remains high as the clean-burning resource generates more than half of its electricity needs. And to meet that demand, the region is now importing Russian natural gas – a move that undercuts U.S. energy security.

Forcing New Englanders to use imported Russian natural gas, when America is awash in energy abundance, sets a dangerous precedent that we should be working together to avoid,” wrote Spigelmyer in the Journal column.

The solution to New England’s energy woes is straightforward – approve infrastructure projects like the Millennium Pipeline and Constitution Pipeline to break the bottleneck and bring more reliable, low-cost domestic natural gas to the region. After all, “magical thinking will not pay our bills or keep our children warm at night,” the Providence Journal wrote in an editorial last week. “To protect the public, leaders must expand the region’s pipeline capacity.”

If such regulatory barriers continue and additional pipeline infrastructure is not built, it will cost New England more than 78,000 jobs and $7.6 billion in regional GDP by 2020, according to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report.

“These misguided efforts have actually worked against regional environmental goals. While renewable sources of energy show great promise, they also require backup sources that must be quickly scaled up to meet peak demand and pick up the slack when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining,” wrote Karen Harbert, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute, in a recent column. “People still need fuel to heat their homes and power their businesses, schools, and hospitals.”

The Boston Globe editorial board agrees and called for a “reset” in an editorial this week. The editorial cites “Massachusetts’ reliance on imported natural gas from Russia” as a “severe indictment of the state’s inward looking environmental and climate policies.”

“There’s a trendy, but scientifically unfounded, national fixation on pipelines that state policy makers have chosen to accommodate. Climate advocates have put short-term tactical victories against fossil fuel infrastructure ahead of strategic progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. … The environmental movement needs a reset, and so does Massachusetts policy.”

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