The Cuomo administration’s repeated snubbing of natural gas pipeline projects is driving up consumer utility costs and carbon dioxide emissions, according to a new report by the conservative think tank Manhattan Institute, the New York Post reports.
Robert Bryce, author of the report, assails the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for halting at least three construction projects based on political, pro-environmental leanings. The DEC recently vetoed the Northeast Supply Enhancement project, a proposed gas pipeline under New York Bay, because the agency claims the construction would damage water quality. Meanwhile, environmentalists have also argued that the Cuomo administration’s push to eliminate statewide carbon emissions by 2050 would be set back by the construction of more pipelines to deliver fossil fuels.
“Liberal Democratic politicians in New York love to talk about climate change and what it will do to minority communities, but these climate politics will be felt by ratepayers,” Bryce says. “By locking out natural gas, the Cuomo administration is locking in oil for heating, which means more carbon-dioxide emissions. New Yorkers already pay the highest rates for natural gas and electricity. All these costs are disproportionately felt by the poor and middle income ratepayers.”
In 2018, New York’s Con Ed gas customers paid nearly double the national average and similarly paid 38 percent more than the national average for electricity costs.
Con Ed, National Grid and other companies have placed moratoriums on new gas hookups in select service areas, including parts of Westchester County, because the existing infrastructure is not able to deliver enough gas to meet rising demand.
Rich Azzopardi, senior adviser to Cuomo, defended the recent pipeline veto and blasted the Manhattan Institute’s report: “Protecting New Yorkers and the environment are this administration’s top priorities, which is why decisions on individual projects are made at the agency level by career public servants who conduct a rigorous review of the facts and science.”
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