Governor Cuomo’s energy blockade is a punch in the gut for northeast consumers, as policies blocking new pipeline development increase costs and jeopardize energy reliability.
It’s ironic that the United States is world’s natural gas production leader, but New York City residents, who live just across the border from the second-largest natural gas producing state, are having trouble accessing the clean, affordable, domestic fuel needed for every day consumer use.
Two small businessmen looking to open a deli in Brooklyn, Bloomberg News reports, can’t access the natural gas needed to run their restaurant. The men, who have already hired employees, won’t be able to open the deli and will be left to pay back $400,000 in business loans.
Magda Perez, owner of Mermaid Prime Meat in Brooklyn faced a similar dilemma, the Wall Street Journal reports, after she moved her sandwich shop, but access to gas for cooking wasn’t available. As the president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce told the Journal, “You can’t be sous chef without the gas. You can’t have a restaurant without the gas.”
Governor Cuomo’s policies, which have banned safe, responsible hydraulic fracturing in New York and blocked new infrastructure to meet rising demand, are causing a natural gas shortage across the northeast. Due to this energy blockade, a tanker of Russian LNG was off-loaded in Boston Harbor last year to meet winter heating demand.
Make no mistake, energy pipelines – overwhelmingly built by the region’s skilled and highly trained building trades union members – are the safest method of transporting energy that’s closely regulated and monitored by a host of federal and state agencies.
As the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) general president Terry O’Sullivan wrote in a letter to Congress earlier this year:
“Since the Great Recession, LIUNA’s largest growth in work for our members has been the energy sector, much of it in the pipeline sector, predominately because of the growth in development of the nation’s natural gas sector. These work hours are generated by private investments from companies who have decided to use the highly trained and skilled workers of the four major pipeline crafts. These jobs provide good wages, health care benefits, a defined benefit pension, and skills training for new entrants into the workforce, as well as continuing education and training for existing workers so that they can continue to compete against a global workforce.”
“Opposing natural gas and projects will lead to fewer middle-class jobs, higher energy process for those who can least afford them, more environmental degradation, and further schism between Congressional Democrats and the workers who are trying to provide for their families and futures.”
The solution to this problem is simple—permit new energy infrastructure projects into New York. “Pennsylvania’s abundant natural gas resources can be a solution to achieving climate goals,” MSC’s Spigelmyer writes in a recent column, “while providing a boost to New York and New England families and small businesses, many who are struggling to make ends meet.”
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