When Gov. Andrew Cuomo formally banned fracking in New York State in December 2014—which subsequently eliminated 191,800 job opportunities—nobody in New York City even batted an eye.
After all, since then-NY Gov. David Paterson put fracking on hold in 2008, “approximately 97 percent of the natural gas supply required to meet the demands of New York natural gas customers [came] from … other states,” including Pennsylvania, which embraced fracking and ignited an economic boom.
Sure, New York residents pay “nearly 50% more on average for their electricity” than people living in other states, thanks to the fracking ban and other “Keep It in the Ground” (KIITG) actions.
And yes, residents of New York’s economically depressed Southern Tier—which “by some metrics, hasn’t recovered from the Great Recession”—are desperate for the high-paying energy jobs and economic growth that Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier enjoys.
But that economic despair hasn’t touched those living in the Big Apple and its wealthy suburbs … until now.
It looks like those carefree days of embracing extreme KIITG policies without personally suffering the consequences have come to an end for New York City’s movers and shakers.
Con Edison, which supplies electricity to the region, recently put a moratorium on new natural gas hookups across parts of Westchester County, a region just north of New York City which includes affluent towns like Mount Kisko, where Gov. Cuomo lives.
Con Ed says the moratorium was necessary because its existing network of pipelines “cannot satisfy an increasing demand for the fuel.”
According to The New York Times, this moratorium “has set off anger and panic among developers and elected leaders who say it has left dozens of projects in limbo, creating uncertainty about housing, jobs and the area’s economic future,” not unlike what the folks in New York’s Southern Tier have been feeling for a decade.
“It’s just a question of how people are going to be able to heat their homes and cook their food with the energy that’s available right now,’’ said Michael Clendenin, a spokesman for Con Ed.
Ironically, the economic chaos that this moratorium is causing in Gov. Cuomo’s home town and surrounding area is a direct result of his “de facto ban on natural gas pipelines.” And while the governor hasn’t officially banned pipelines, his embrace of KIITG’s anti-pipeline philosophy has many calling the fight over pipelines in New York “the first battle of the Green New Deal.”
It will be some time before a victor emerges from this particular battle, but the war against pipelines that New York politicians have been waging since 2008 has devasted countless communities the state’s Southern Tier.
For more on how the “Keep It in the Ground” anti-pipeline agenda has hurt New York, check out this report by Energy in Depth.