On the coldest day of the season yet, Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday laid the blame for limited natural gas supplies in southern New York at the feet of utility companies – even though his administration has refused to approve permits for a pipeline project that would provide enough energy to fuel about 2.3 million homes in the region.
First, let’s look at the timeline around the governor’s handling of the Williams Pipeline:
- 2017: Williams Cos Inc proposes spending $1 billion to expand capacity of the Williams Pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York.
- May 2019: The Cuomo administration rejects key permits for the Williams Pipeline.
- May: Utility provider National Grid issues a moratorium on new gas hookups in the region due to a lack of natural gas capacity, a problem stemming from the Cuomo Administration’s permit denials.
- October: Governor Cuomo said it was up to the legislature to approve the pipeline because it’s a “very controversial proposal” and a “political decision” – even though his administration is clearly responsible for approving permits.
- November: Governor Cuomo threatens to revoke National Grid’s license to operate in the southern part of New York because the company issued the moratorium on hookups, accusing the utility of “mishandling … the gas supply” and alleging “there is no doubt National Grid failed to provide adequate and reliable service.”
The utility companies would like to increase gas deliveries to the region by up to 400 million cubic feet per day – which, again, is enough to fuel about 2.3 million homes. That would make significant strides in providing “adequate and reliable service.”
Yet, Governor Cuomo is standing in the furnace room door – preventing consumers from accessing the energy they need to keep their homes warm.
As Craig Stevens, spokesman for the GAIN Coalition, said:
“Governor Cuomo’s threat against National Grid is deeply concerning – for both consumers, businesses, and utility providers across the state. National Grid has identified the critical need for new energy infrastructure to safely and efficiently deliver natural gas to consumers in Long Island and the New York City area. Rather than developing pragmatic solutions, Gov. Cuomo has a long history of stonewalling the development of the state’s natural gas resources and opposing new energy infrastructure – as a result he is now blaming the victim – the energy industry itself. Cuomo’s political antics have left New Yorkers, quite literally, in the cold.”
It is time for Governor Cuomo to stop blaming and shifting responsibility to others – and step up and do what is best for consumers in New York.