The Wall Street Journal did a wonderful editorial this week pointing out how pursuing an ideological energy strategy is raising energy costs and emissions.
I’m not that big a fan of the Wall Street Journal these days, but the its editorial board just came out with one of the best pieces I’ve seen on how Governor Andrew Corruptocrat is destroying Upstate New York, while raising both energy costs and emissions. The pie, which may be found here, speaks for itself but I’ve excerpted the key parts below.
The Empire State’s southern tier overlays the rich Marcellus and Utica Shale formations, among the most productive drilling regions in the country. Shale fracking has been an economic boon for Appalachia—and could have lifted upstate New York. Since 2010 natural gas production has surged 520% in West Virginia, 920% in Pennsylvania and 1880% in Ohio.
Mr. Cuomo’s predecessor David Paterson imposed a moratorium on fracking in 2010. After winning re-election in 2014, Mr. Cuomo started laying the ground for a White House bid and made the ban permanent. Between 2010 and 2015, New York’s natural gas production plunged by half—which has translated into fewer jobs as well as less royalties for landowners and revenue for local governments.
Last year the Governor compounded the economic damage by blocking the 120-mile Constitution pipeline transporting natural gas from Pennsylvania to upstate New York and New England. Although the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the pipeline in 2014, Mr. Cuomo’s Department of Environmental Conservation conducted a separate review and denied a water-quality permit putatively because the developers hadn’t provided sufficient information…
All of this is ominous since the region desperately needs more natural gas to make up for lost power from the impending shutdown of nuclear and coal plants. New England’s Independent System Operator projects that 14% of the region’s electric generation capacity will be retired within three years and says more pipelines are needed for grid stability.
Mr. Cuomo is also forcing the premature retirement of the Indian Point nuclear plant, which provides a quarter of New York City and Westchester County’s electricity. He hasn’t offered a back-up plan, but natural gas will have to play a role. Renewables (excluding hydropower) make up only 5% of New York’s electric generation, and we doubt the local liberal gentry will abide wind farms off Long Island.
Energy costs in the Northeast are already the highest in the nation outside of Alaska and Hawaii in part due to the shortage of natural gas. Northeast residents pay 29% more for natural gas and 44% more for electricity than the U.S. average, according to a recent study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Industrial users in the Northeast pay twice as much for natural gas and 62% more for electricity.
Electricity and natural gas constitute many manufacturers’ biggest costs, which in part explains why so many are fleeing the Northeast. Since 2010 manufacturing economic output has increased by 1.5% in the Great Lakes region while shrinking 0.7% in New England and 2.4% in New York.
Inclement weather can cause energy costs to skyrocket. During the 2014 polar vortex, natural gas prices in New York City spiked to $120 per million Btu—about 25 times the Henry Hub spot price at the time. Natural-gas power plants in New York are required to burn oil during supply shortages. Due to pipeline constraints and the Jones Act—which requires that cargo transported between U.S. ports be carried by ships built in the U.S.—Boston imports liquefied natural gas during the winter from Trinidad. This is expensive and emits boatloads of carbon.
Speaking of which, about a quarter of households in New York, 45% in Vermont and 65% in Maine still burn heating oil—which is a third more expensive than natural gas and produces about 30% more carbon emissions per million Btu. Yet many can’t switch due to insufficient natural gas and pipeline infrastructure.
Mr. Cuomo’s natural gas blockade is harming residents and businesses throughout the Northeast while raising carbon emissions that he claims are imperiling the planet. The likely Democratic presidential aspirant may hope to ride this record to the White House, but millions of Americans are already paying a high price for his policies.
Andrew Cuomo, Governor Corruptocrat, is deliberately raising energy costs on his state, casting huge swaths of it to the wind in more ways than one and ensuring millions who would like to burn clean natural gas instead of oil are deprived of that opportunity. It’s a bizarre and unworkable plan appealing only to ideologues, malcontents and, most importantly, wealthy trust-funders who might fund his campaign for President. He’s the sleaziest of sleazy politicians with no philosophy whatsoever other than to advance himself and he’d happily change positions on a dime if he thought that would bring hime a step closer to the Presidency.
Meanwhile, Corruptocrat’s constituents suffer and carbon emissions that might be reduced aren’t. Electricity costs rise, factories leave, farms die and the NRDC gang grabs more land on the cheap to make its wilderness. Perhaps it’s time Upstate New Yorkers moved their businesses and themselves across the border and let them have it. Well, not really, of course, but this is what drives others to do so. One hopes there is someone, someplace in government who steps in with some common sense to save New York.
Maybe FERC will do it. Both Jim Willis and I have noted the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has already acknowledged (in their June 23, 2017, Millennium Pipeline vs Basil Seggos decision) that FERC has the authority to make the ultimate decision about pipelines under the Natural Gas Act. States cannot ignore federal statutory deadlines. Presumably, they likewise can’t force applicants to reapply repeatedly in a quest for more and more information after they’ve already determined an application complete. The D.C. Court of Appeals, in fact, indicated the pipeline could bypass New York and go directly to FERC if the state unlawfully delayed acting on its application. Here’s hoping Constitution will exercise its option to proceed directly to FERC for that relief.