The Insanely Corrupt Politics of the Constitution Pipeline

Constitution Pipeline - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.


The Constitution Pipeline decision barely touches the degree to which corrupt politics now defines the way energy policy is derived in the State of New York.

New York State is the place where the modern era of corrupt politics first took root. It began with the legendary Boss Tweed and there’s no end in sight if the recent convictions of Dean Skelos, the state Senate majority leader and Sheldon Silver the Assembly Speaker
are any indication. Bill deBlasio, the current commie Mayor of New York City may well be next, or is Andrew Cuomo himself?

These well-known cases, though, barely touch on the insanely corrupt politics of New York, which extend down several more layers. Even those who set themselves up as the monitors of these corrupt politics are deeply embedded in the system and every bit as guilty as the more famous individuals being perp-walked to justice.

Several things, beginning with Cuomo’s overtly political decision to deny the Constitution Pipeline a routine water quality certification, serve to illustrate. Cuomo draped his action in the language of environmental concerns that were patently superficial; even supporters of the decision knew better. It was a cowardly act ensuring natural gas and electricity customers from all over New York and New England will be stuck with higher prices in the future. Upstate New York will, once again, be deprived of the jobs that would make a difference in its ever more moribund economy.

Constitution Pipeline

Famous political cartoonist Thomas Nast depicts the Boss Tweed Ring: “Who stole the people’s money?” / “‘Twas him.”

The Constitution Pipeline decision was unexpected by those who don’t realize the extent to which Cuomo is under the thumb of the NRDC gang and friends. Even those of us aware of that particular fact were hopeful, politics being what it is, that Cuomo would throw a bone to Upstate to compensate for his devastating fracking decision. But, it was not to be. Is Cuomo really that politically calloused, or so obtuse, as to not see the value of the Constitution Pipeline in patronization of Upstate, if nothing else? Are his politics so extreme he’s willing to impose higher costs on million of New Yorkers and deny jobs to his union supporters for the sake of them?

No, Andrew Cuomo is corrupt and just another player in the insanely corrupt politics of New York. He’s too smart not to realize the obvious benefits of the Constitution Pipeline and the need for it if his urban consumers of electricity and natural gas are not to face big price increases in the future. It simply doesn’t matter, though, because there’s too much else at stake for Cuomo.

Cuomo’s actions appear incoherent to many, this excerpt from PoliticoNewYork article demonstrating what seem to be inexplicable inconsistencies:

What’s more, the Cuomo administration’s energy plan, released just last year, envisions an increased reliance on natural gas by 2030. The plan recognized that as long as cheap natural gas is abundant next door in Pennsylvania, New York will buy it and use it to keep the lights on.

In addition, Cuomo wants to shutter the state’s two remaining coal plants, but has suggested they could re-open by powering them with natural gas. He traveled to Western New York in 2013 to propose that very plan for a coal-burning facility in Dunkirk, which has since been mothballed.

And last year, the chairwoman of the Public Service Commission, Audrey Zibelman, said “from the economic perspective, additional pipeline capacity into the state will be useful.”

The state’s independent grid operator has cautioned that “the lights will go out” without additional gas pipelines and transmission lines.

For the state to fulfill its goals, in other words, New York needs and is depending on more natural gas. And in order to get more natural gas, more pipelines are needed.

A very knowledgeable reader of this blog starts to get at the answer, though:

The Cuomo administration is doing everything in its power to raise energy prices for consumers in NY and throughout the northeast.  Media coverage of the Constitution pipeline misses the main point.  This is not about politics.  Cuomo isn’t blocking shale gas drilling and pipelines to “burnish his liberal credentials.”  And it’s not about climate or protecting the environment. 

Andrew Cuomo wants to block natural gas and oil production and transport because doing so will raise consumer energy prices.  High fuel and electricity costs are essential to Cuomo because the state is gambling on SolarCity and other similar ventures that are only economical if the cost of natural gas, oil and electricity remain high. 

They will continue to try to kill off the oil and gas industry nationwide, and in the meantime they will choke off any technology or infrastructure that will keep natural gas supplies low in NY and the northeast as demand grows.  This is why Cuomo banned fracking, and it’s why he’s blocking pipelines and oil transport by rail.

Our reader is correct. Cuomo has invested hundreds of millions of taxpayer and ratepayer dollars in boondoggle schemes such as SolarCity that don’t have a prayer without higher electricity and natural gas prices. The recent bankruptcy of SunEdison proves that. He’s also giving megabucks to the NRDC gang’s Catskill Mountainkeeper to pursue solar fantasies and he’s pushing hard for solar farm development to create demand for solar panels and make up for the energy development he won’t allow in the vain hope he can somehow come out whole. He’s created a NY Green Bank to replicate his “success” with Fannie Mae while he was at HUD, which nearly collapsed our entire financial system. The entire thing is one big fiasco, a textbook example of corrupt politics and cronyism that rewards his friends and, ultimately, himself.

Constitution Pipeline

Catskill Mountainkeeper’s Wes Gillingham speaking against pipeline (with wacko friend and trial lawyer representative Craig Stevens looking on)

The network of cronies who are involved isn’t confined to the NRDC gang, though they are the center of everything. Unfortunately, very few reporters bother to investigate. This story from Politico, for example, is quick to observe the corrupt politics of New York, calling the state “#1 in Corruption,” and pointing out “Nearly every major decision, from setting the state budget on down, is made in private by the governor, the Assembly speaker and the Senate majority leader,” two of whom have now been deposed. It was a good story, as far it went, but at the end we learn one of the sources was the “legislative director for New York Public Interest Research Group,” which is one of the organizations most deeply involved in the corruption, if anyone bothered to look.

A glimpse into the role of New York Public Interest Research Group (NY-PIRG) is provided by this article from Crain’s New York Business, which explains exactly how the organization works (emphasis added):

Consumer-oriented NYPIRG and fee-oriented NYTLA make peculiar bedfellows. The advocacy group is hailed as a crusading David shooting down big-business Goliaths, while the plaintiff’s bar is derided for ambulance chasing in public opinion polls.

But their agendas are often mirror images. Both oppose tort reform and caps on vicarious liability, product liability and medical liability. Each is lobbying to kill no-fault compensation for neurologically-impaired newborns. Each has amassed the power to bottle up bills in the Democrat-dominated state Assembly. Together, they sock New York business and government with a one-two punch, stirring up a sue-happy citizenry, fueling the worst liability explosion in the nation and slashing deep holes in city and state budgets.

Forged over common goals, the little-known alliance between NYPIRG and NYTLA raises troubling questions about a breed of consumer activists that may be less for consumers and more for lawyers. ”The trial lawyers are highly leveraged, part-owners of grievances that have not yet been ruled on,” says Walter K. Olson, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of The Litigation Explosion. ”The PIRGs give them the stamp of disinterested public spirit and fan the flames that make their claims work.” In turn, Mr. Olson says, the trial lawyers nationally play an avuncular role in feeding a ready-made agenda to the consumer advocates.

Both NYPIRG and NYTLA vehemently deny any such good cop-bad cop collusion. The two groups acknowledge extensive information sharing, but say they very rarely chart joint tactics or strategy. Much of NYPIRG’s $3.6 million budget comes from mandatory student activity fees at State University of New York campuses. The trial lawyers don’t give it a penny. ”We have nothing to do with the formulation of their views, and they have nothing to do with the formulation of ours,” says NYPIRG Executive Director Jay R. Halfon.

Our readers know well the name of Jay Halfon, the Fractivist Rasputin involved with the Park Foundation,, the Sustainable Markets Foundation and numerous other anti-fracking activities. He’s the Rockefeller family’s point man on these issues and he’s integrally involved in every fracking controversy and every decision by the Cuomo administration on the subject. He’s the guy who has given Walter Hang millions of Rockefeller dollars to aid various causes that just happen to be of great interest to trial lawyers as well.

The except offered above (reprinted as part of another article in 2011) was from 1993, some 23 years ago and Jay Halfon was denying any relationship between between those trial lawyers and the NY-PIRG organization he then ran. Four years later he took over as the Executive director and general counsel of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association before later signing on with the Rockefellers. The pretense was over.

Yes, NY-PIRG is nothing more than an extension of the New York trial lawyer community and it has an unholy alliance with the Rockefellers and the NRDC gang to pursue projects of mutual interest; suing oil and gas companies, making wildernesses here and creating Rockefeller oil opportunities overseas, not to mention green energy cronyism here at home. Opposing the Constitution Pipeline and fracking in New York serves all these objectives.

There is another layer of corruption, though, and it has to with still another corrupt phony organization; the Working Families Party (WFP), which is also deeply involved with all this. The WFP name came up recently in a City Journal article about New York City’s commie Mayor, Bill deBlasio, who appears to be running “a pay-to-play money laundering operation out of City Hall,” according to the writers. They note the deep involvement of WFP with deBlasio and the role of a lobbying and PR firm known as BerlinRosen. BerlinRosen, in turn, is very connected to not only the WFP, but also the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and Food and Water Watch. And, who’s part of the WFP legal team? Jay Halfon, the Fractivist Rasputin. That Jay Halfon, tying together everyone involved from the NRDC gang (the Rockefellers), to the trial lawyers, to the radical activists, to the green-exploiting cronies hoping to score big from all the schemes.

Constitution Pipeline

Jay Halfon at at a Working Families Party “Gala” with Frack Action’s Renee Vogelsang and the Catskill Mountainkeeper’s Bette Broad

So, we see how the insanely corrupt politics of the State of New York really work. It’s this corrupt system that yielded the Constitution Pipeline and fracking decisions, as well as several others. It’s all about the money, not the politics, but it has the side benefit of green-washing the greed involved and assuaging the guilt of the guilty. Meanwhile, Upstate New York’s economy will continue to suffer, labor union will lose jobs, naive consumers and taxpayers will pay more for their energy and useful idiot fractivists manipulated in the process think they’ve scored a big victory.

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10 thoughts on “The Insanely Corrupt Politics of the Constitution Pipeline

  1. So many people pictured in this post are corrupt I would say. Definitely corrupting information and definitely unwilling to call out corruption or wrong when they see it.

    So far I have seen only one quote in a paper or news from Cuomo on constituion pipe. I have seen very very little done that I would call investigation or good reporting on the dec announcement on the constituion pipe permit being rejected.

    One would think reporters should be attempting to get some answers on what just happened with the permit, the delay and more from both Cuomo and the agency that announced the decision of the permit rejection. Or is that just me?

    And I don’t think it should matter whether one thinks the constituion pipe permit rejection was a wise decision or an unwise one in order for anyone with a head on their shoulder and some knowledge of the constituion project to say what the what just happened exactly? Zero good reason I can see why the DEC decision on that permit was announced at the time it was and in the untransparent manner it was.

    How can there be so little inquiry into this is what I’m wondering?


    In other news. Wow! Natural gas is beating coal out in producing electricity for the first time in the history of the united States!!! What? That’s amazing! And renewables seem to be producing some power alongside this increase in natural gas? Terrific? Why does that sound like the exact opposite thing I hear from antifracking pipeline resistance movement and Bill mckibben and other supposed enviro and climate leaders then????

  3. My late October op-ed prediction may be coming true a month or two behind schedule.

    Bharara is ratcheting up the probe of Buffalo Billion and Cuomo’s closest aides. Laughably, the governor has launched his own parallel investigation… let’s hope he’s finally circling the drain.

    • Cuomo is an utter waste of carbon; a major carbon polluter! He needs to be sequestered (in prison!) before he can do any further environmental damage!

  4. Pingback: Andrew Cuomo: Like Humpty Dumpty the Ethics Did Fall

  5. and a corporation that used Armed guards to cut trees on land in PA was not without motive. You can BS some of the people some of the time but not all the people all of the time Tom ………

  6. Pingback: BerlinRosen and the Fractivist Con Game

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