Republican Sen. Robert Ortt of New York criticized the state’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday for unambiguously opposing natural gas production while citizens contend with rolling blackouts and expensive energy prices.
Ortt apologized to New England in a lengthy editorial for the Democratic governor’s antagonistic approach to energy production. The Republican state senator also accused Cuomo of twisting New York laws to the point of barring any form of inexpensive energy from entering the region.
“For years, you’ve experienced some of the highest electricity and home heating prices in the nation — and they make it extra hard for you to compete with other states for jobs and investment,” Ortt wrote. His commentary comes several months after New England was forced to import natural gas from Russia to grapple with the region’s chronic energy shortage.
“You could be tapping into the world’s most abundant, affordable supply of natural gas, just 300 miles away from you in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale,” he noted, referring to Pennsylvania’s enormous fracking industry that supplies large portions of the East Coast with readily available gas. One of the primary reasons for the shortages is Cuomo, according to Ortt.
“Our governor has been absolutely dead-set on stopping any and every natural gas pipeline infrastructure expansion that would bring New England the fuel you need and deserve,” he wrote.
“He’s twisted New York laws as hard as he can to undercut federal laws that expressly permit sensible, long-overdue modernization of our interstate natural gas infrastructure.”
Cuomo publicly opposed the Northern Access Pipeline, a project that was ultimately denied approval by New York’s environmental protection department.
He told reporters in 2017 the project would hurt his ability to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas levels. Cuomo also banned hydraulic fracturing in 2015, claiming it used too much water and could potentially contaminate the state’s drinking source.
Numerous studies from the Environmental Protection Agency found that fracking does not contaminate drinking water and could not have any large-scale impact on groundwater.
Recent reports from the EPA also show the primary reason for declines in carbon emissions comes from an increase in natural gas production.
Cuomo is not the only official in the New England area who opposed to natural gas. Officials in Massachusetts and neighboring New Hampshire blocked financing in 2016 for the $3 billion Access Northeast Pipeline, which would have helped the state weather an energy crunch this winter.
The state’s decision to rely principally on green energy hiked gas prices and forced it to turn to Russian oil imports.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey concluded in 2016 that “no new pipelines are needed” and that New England “can maintain electric reliability through 2030 even without additional new natural gas pipelines.” Healey also joined New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s investigation into ExxonMobil’s alleged willingness to hide internal documents about climate change.
Environmentalist groups like 350.org and Greenpeace are organizing online campaigns to oppose every new coal, oil and natural gas projects in the country. Greenpeace, for one, has etched out the position that the only good fossil fuels are the ones that are left in the ground.
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