Unatego Area Landowners Association
The cynical politics of Andrew Cuomo involve assuming power for the purpose of evading responsibility and patronizing big green radicals.
Progress on the $700 million Constitution Pipeline teeters on the mating habits of the Northern long-eared bat and the political machinations of Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Bats get busy in April and tree cutting along pipeline right-of-way is curtailed until November. No construction starts until trees are cut and removed. Knowing this, the Governor has held up the water permits for construction in wetlands and under streams. He, like the bats, await April. This inaction on his part is pure politics.
Williams, the pipeline company, wants to start because they have customers waiting. To move things along and, perhaps, to force the issue, the company asked FERC for permission to cut trees NOT situated in the wetlands nor near streams. Attorney General Schniederman has petitioned FERC to deny Williams permission.
DEC/FERC/Cuomo/Schniederman/Williams/bats? Complicated? Lots of moving parts?
Let’s boil it down real simple; Andrew Cuomo is now an integral part of his “no-gas-anywhere” base. He sits on the permits for political to placate this base. He will let the clock run out. The bats will mate. The issue may go to court. The Feds will have to take the permitting authority away from the State.
In this scenario Cuomo comes out a winner, saying, “I did my best,” thus satisfying the “no-gas-anywhere” crowd and their/his renewable energy funders. The pipeline gets delayed for a year(s).
The losers? The people and businesses in Upstate New York. They lose the distribution lines delivering natural gas to heat their homes at a 30% discount to propane. The counties, towns, and school districts lose the extra tax revenue. The current and potential businesses lose cheap energy. The entire State loses when, once again, it is obvious New York is not “open for business” but, rather, plays regulatory games to satisfy favorites (pick winners) and make losers out of Upstate residents.
And, Upstate New York continues to lose its people and their hopes for a future.. The Empire State is emptying out; people renting U-Hauls, pounding the “For Sale” on the front lawn, and taking off to Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina…anywhere but New York.
Way to go, Governor. Billions for solar subsidies; nothing, not even a routine permit approval, for natural gas.
Richard Downey is a retired New York City schoolteacher and a member of the Unatego Board of Education and the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York.