New York Dems Break With Cuomo On Pipeline

Six Democratic state senators from Long Island broke with the Cuomo administration to call for the approval of a proposed pipeline expansion project that would provide much-needed boost to the region’s natural gas supply.

In an Oct. 2 letter, the senators urged the Department of Environmental Conservation to approve the 24-mile pipeline known as the Northeast Supply Enhancement project. The DEC previously declined to issue key permits for the project, which forced  utilities in the region to impose moratoriums on new natural gas connections as a result of supply constraints.

“We write to you to urge you to approve the Northeast Supply Enhancement (“NESE”) project, on an emergency basis only, as a gas shortage threatens the Long Island region. National Grid’s moratorium has already impacted thousands of our constituents, and the lack of a reliable, future natural gas supply has the potential to upend the lives of many more, halt economic development, and adversely result on the use of dirtier forms of energy.”

The senators also emphasized the benefits of clean natural gas, noting that the pipeline will help New York reduce emissions while supporting the economy.

“Further, the lack of necessary natural gas infrastructure will force New Yorkers to use dirtier oil or propane. These options are less safe, more environmentally harmful, and will lead to increased truck traffic and other undesirable consequences. A new pipeline will result in emissions reductions from heating fuel conversions, a reduction in indirect emissions from truck traffic, the avoidance of disproportionate impacts to vulnerable communities, and well-paying jobs to people trying to feed their families.”

Jainey Bavishi, director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, echoed these points earlier this year, telling the City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection that “the city has achieved the cleanest air quality in 50 years” thanks to “cleaner fuels like natural gas.”

New York’s de facto pipeline ban has become an increasing point of contention in both the state and the region as natural gas demand exceeds available pipeline capacity. The lack of gas and the resulting moratoriums have had devastating consequences for households and small businesses. This includes a pair of upstart New York City deli owners who are on the verge abandoning their plans to open a new restaurant after being denied access to natural gas.