NYC Suburb Can’t Expand Natural Gas Access. Is Gov. Cuomo to Blame?

Westchester County is “in a panic” as residents, small businesses, schools and hospitals can’t access the natural gas needed to power their economy. Bloomberg News reported Friday that natural gas supply constraints could “grind” development – specifically construction of 16,000 new homes and 2 million square feet of retail and commercial space – in the state’s second-wealthiest county to a halt.

Yet, just to south, Pennsylvanians have realized average annual energy savings of $1,100-$2,200 per household, thanks to safe natural gas development – and the pipelines to deliver this energy resource to homes, schools and hospitals. We’re leading on enhancing air quality too, with carbon emissions and harmful pollutants plummeting as more natural gas is used to power our economy.

So, where’s the disconnect?

The Cuomo administration’s energy blockade has left the northeast starved for natural gas, a situation that a recent NY Post editorial has called a crisis:

New York needs gas today, and pipelines to deliver it, to keep the economy healthy and growing. Cuomo has already socked New York with his ban on fracking…Just how much more can its economy take?”

Even though the Cuomo administration continues to block key pipelines and has banned safe unconventional natural production, New York was the fifth-largest natural gas consumer for electricity in 2017, with the fuel meeting nearly 40% of the state’s power demands. Consumers and small businesses in Westchester County and across the region want to access to natural gas and its clean air and energy savings benefits.

Blocking pipelines does not reduce the fundamental need for affordable access to energy. During last year’s arctic freeze, the region imported Russian natural gas to meet the spike in demand, just as America became the world’s top natural gas producer. The Wall Street Journal editorial board, too, has slammed Cuomo’s “cold weather tax.”

“[February’s] polar vortex brought another chilling reminder about the economic damage of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s shale-drilling blockade. His energy policies are hurting upstate and leaving New York City’s suburbs out in the cold. … Due to Mr. Cuomo’s natural-gas blockade, New England during the winter must import liquefied natural gas from Trinidad and Tobago, which is far more expensive and emits more carbon than shipping via pipeline.”

That access should be readily available, given its proximity to Marcellus shale resources; after all, local Pennsylvania natural gas is ready to responsibly heat homes in the winter and keep them cool in the summer. But in blocking critical energy infrastructure, Gov. Cuomo has made certain that New York families will pay more energy and have less access to affordable, clean-burning American natural gas.

In a meeting yesterday between President Trump and Gov. Cuomo, Trump told Cuomo that lifting the ban on hydraulic fracturing and permitting new pipelines will solve the region’s energy woes. More from the Associated Press:

[A White House spokesman] said Trump also discussed economic growth opportunities in New York, saying the state could help lower energy prices throughout the Northeast by allowing hydraulic fracturing and the development of gas pipelines.

Pennsylvania’s abundant natural gas resources can provide a boost to New York families and small businesses, many who are struggling to make ends meet. It’s up to Gov. Cuomo and leaders in Albany to decide if they want to put people, or politics, first.