Following a long winter with record-high heating prices, New Yorkers should appreciate a recent federal appeals court decision which ruled the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) took too long to review permits for the Valley Lateral pipeline.
Under the façade of environmental protection, the Cuomo administration continues to fight infrastructure projects that would help families and small businesses meet essential energy needs.
Per the federal court, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration even denied permits for a natural gas pipeline that would serve a power plant approved by the DEC.
But the administration’s efforts block environmental progress.
A greener New York cannot happen without cleaner-burning natural gas, and new pipelines would support efforts to meet stringent environmental goals.
Pipelines remain the best way to safely move natural gas and oil, meet demand, reduce bottlenecks, lower emissions and decrease brownout and blackout probabilities, especially in the winter or summer, when demand soars.
In fact, studies show that resources transported by pipelines reach their destination more than 99.999 percent of the time and are 4.5 times safer than other energy transportation methods.
Each project the Cuomo administration fought would have delivered more natural gas to a state hamstrung by a shortage of affordable energy. The high energy prices New Yorkers pay can be avoided by permitting more pipeline capacity. Instead, Russian LNG was imported to help the state and Northeast’s dire supply situation, even though ample supplies of domestic energy were available and waiting for delivery from nearby states. These local shipments would’ve also cut costs for state households that, per a 2017 analysis by Consumer Energy Alliance, pay 141 percent more than the national average for electricity.
Thankfully, the federal court’s decision ends the state’s repeated efforts to halt the approval and construction of energy infrastructure projects via needless and redundant delays and sends a clear message to lawmakers – in New York and in other states nationwide – that abusing the permitting process is ill-advised and morally hurtful to constituents, economically and environmentally.
David Holt is president of the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA).
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