Business and labor leaders from across the state turned out for the New Yorkers for Affordable Energy coalition forum focused on natural gas moratoriums in Westchester and Long Island.
“The recent moratoriums announced for Westchester and Long Island are the canary in the coal mine for New York’s energy future. If we continue to block natural gas infrastructure, New Yorkers will continue to lose access to affordable, reliable, domestic natural gas,” said Peter Kauffmann, spokesman for New Yorkers for Affordable Energy.
“Dreams of technologies that may be developed decades from now will not keep New Yorkers warm. It’s time to stop forcing the most vulnerable New Yorkers to bear the burden for the misguided political agenda of a small group of activists,”
Con Edison imposed a moratorium on new gas service in southern Westchester last month, blaming an inability to find a new pipeline supply.
The utility giant has warned that moratoriums could eventually be necessary in New York City if the state doesn’t approve new gas pipelines.
The moratorium is already putting economic development projects at risk and costing the county jobs, according to union leader John Murphy.
“The largest development projects in New York State depend on access to natural gas, so if natural gas isn’t available, those projects don’t move forward and quality union jobs go away. It’s time to stop playing games and put New Yorkers to work building the infrastructure we need to power our state,” said Murphy, of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry.
The Business Council of Westchester has created a task force focused on developing short and long-term solutions to address Con Edison’s moratorium, according to said John Ravitz, Executive Vice President/COO, Business Council of Westchester.
The state hasacted to block natural gas infrastructure projects, and according to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), this has led directly to supply constraints that “are causing adverse environmental impacts.” The EDF recently concluded that “opposing or preventing all pipeline capacity expansion into New York is not an effective climate policy.”
As part of the coalition event, the Consumer Energy Alliance issued a new report highlighting $30.9 billion in savings that natural gas has generated for New Yorkers, followed by a presentation detailing the long-term impacts of policies restricting access to natural gas.