FACT CHECK: New York’s Looming Natural Gas Crisis

CLAIM: In a recent opinion piece, the Public Accountability Initiative’s Robert Galbraith claimed that National Fuel’s Northern Access Pipeline “won’t bring energy security” and that the GAIN Coalition is just a bunch of “oil and gas lobbying groups.”



Mr. Galbraith claims that the “Northern Access Pipeline cannot remotely be considered an essential infrastructure project for New York’s energy security.” Perhaps Mr. Galbraith needs to be reminded that New York is currently facing a growing natural gas shortage due to insufficient pipeline infrastructure.

In January, utility giant Consolidated Edison announced that beginning mid-March it will “no longer be accepting applications for natural gas connections from new customers in most of our Westchester County service area.” The New York City area gas and power provider said a lack in pipeline capacity meant “new demand for gas is reaching the limits of the current supplies.”

Meanwhile, National Grid is considering declaring moratorium on new gas customers on Long Island if state regulators don’t green-light Williams’ Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline Project this spring. The potential ban could leave developers of $1 billion Belmont Park redevelopment unable to heat the colossal new home for the New York Islanders.

Mr. Galbraith goes to claim that the “primary purpose of the pipeline is to export fracked gas to Canada.” This too is false. While the pipeline will export some gas to Canada, it will also link up with the existing Tennessee Gas Pipeline, which supplies gas to consumer markets in New York and New England. It is categorically false to say that the project “offers no benefit to regular Western New Yorkers.”

In addition to providing gas to heat homes and power electric plants, Northern Access will also be a boon for local economies. The project will generate almost 1,700 good-paying construction jobs, benefit small business with increased economic activity, and provide over $11 million in new property tax revenue.

Finally, Mr. Galbraith asserts that the Grow America’s Infrastructure Now Coalition and GAINFactChecker.org are run by lobbyists seeking to further the interests of the oil and gas industry. We are not lobbyists, but rather a coalition of business-minded groups seeking to correct misstatements fact and outright lies about important infrastructure projects. Everything we produce is fact-based and transparently-sourced.