What’s the Matter with New York?

cost of renewables - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW


New York State has long passed the tipping point where rational public policy is possible. The reason? The state is hopelessly urban with no grasp of land.

I’m often asked by Upstate New Yorkers and residents of other states why New York does such inexplicable things. My answer, though hardly reassuring, is that the Empire State is now so urban that all connection with the land is lost for most voters. Take the five boroughs of New York City, throw in Long Island and Rockland and Westchester Counties, and you have 63% of all New York State crowded onto 4% of the land at a density of almost 6,000 persons per square mile.

Most voters living in such conditions haven’t the slightest clue how food is grown or energy is made or what it mans to own and be responsible for land. Land, in fact, is a foreign concept to someone who has lived in an apartment, however plush, and simply pays for food, energy and transportation without giving a thought to how they’re delivered. Property taxes, deer management and all-weather tires are terms for which there is utterly no use. Give any of these people 100 acres of land Upstate, tell them to make a living off it and they’d starve, just as I would if suddenly plopped down in Manhattan. They’re two different planets, culturally speaking, yet the population imbalance ensures the Upstate New Yorker is at the mercy of the city dweller with no grasp of land.

All this is brought to mind by an article (subscription required) in E & E News entitled “Fight for natural gas ramps up in N.Y.” that addresses the bizarre anti-gas policies of a state that continues to use more and more natural gas. It builds a bit on a recent study by the US Chamber of Commerce documenting the insanity of blocking Northeast pipelines IER reported on here. Prince Corruptocrat, of course, has been methodically taking instruction from the NRDC gang to torpedo one pipeline project after another on the grounds of spurious refusal to issue routine water quality certifications. E & News quotes our good friend Karen Moreau from API, as asking “What’s the legitimate reason here? ls there one? What is his plan for natural gas?

New York

Those are great questions and the sad truth is that Governor Cuomo has no reason other than kowtowing to the NRDC gang and the urban New Yorkers who haven’t got a clue. He’s Prince Corruptocrat, but King Demagogue, perhaps America’s worst governor on the  integrity scale. He plays to an uninformed crowd that doesn’t know and doesn’t care that natural gas is the key to their energy future. Some have blocked it out on the theory they’re smarter and better informed and, therefore, cannot be wrong. Most simply don’t know. Cuomo’s plan, to the extent there is one, doesn’t go beyond the demagoguery except to secretly hope FERC or the courts overrule him so he gets both the gas and the credit for having attempted to block it.

It’s a strategy for losers; the cynical politics at the very core of how New York is governed. Still, it may well be the only way to get things done in a state where 63% of the people control everything from a tiny 4% of the land so completely different than the rest of the state and so ignorant of what land involves. Andrew Cuomo is probably less the driver than the driven is such a situation. It may be that only an individual of such corruption and such cynicism is capable of riding New York through its storms. Perhaps, in other words, steering the ship is impossible and riding it out is the best option.

New York

If so, there is little hope for New York unless those city dwellers can be educated. There is a new effort, although late in coming, to do just that. It’s the result of a new coalition of industry, labor and economic development groups recently announced:

Community, labor and business leaders from across the state joined today to announce the launch of New Yorkers for Affordable Energy, a coalition dedicated to supporting access to cleaner, reliable and affordable sources of energy for residential and business consumers. New Yorkers for Affordable Energy supports increasing access to natural gas for manufacturing facilities, power production, transportation, and other purposes to support New York’s economy and quality of life.

“Community and business leaders from across New York understand the important role natural gas plays as a catalyst for job growth,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. “The Council is proud to join with residents, labor leaders and fellow business organizations in highlighting the immediate and pressing need for access to clean and affordable energy.”

James Cahill, President of the NYS Building & Construction Trades Council, said, “ New York is at a crossroads in terms of energy policy. Demand for energy is increasing at a time when the state’s aging infrastructure is already straining to meet the needs of consumers and businesses. Increasing access to affordable energy will help create jobs and lower energy costs for New Yorkers.”

Coalition partners support the following key principles:

  • The expansion of natural gas service will bring more affordable heat and electricity to New York homes and businesses, helping to keep energy prices low for consumers.
  • Natural gas supports economic development and job growth by helping to attract businesses to New York.
  • Natural gas is an important source of cleaner, reliable energy, and an essential part of New York’s energy mix.

Coalition members support a spirited public dialogue and fact-based education about responsible infrastructure development; and we commit to conduct ourselves in a manner that will provide sustainable and broad-based economic and energy-security benefits for all. More information can be found at www.affordableenergyny.com.

Let’s hope this coalition starts doing a lot more education on the environmental, health and economic benefits of natural gas and directs its efforts at that 63% of the population that lives far removed from the land that produces (or could, in the case of Upstate, produce) all those benefits. Lives are being saved today in New York City because natural gas has been substituted for coal and oil and the air is far cleaner as a result. Carbon emissions are way down for the same reasons. The costs of energy to urban New Yorkers have been dramatically reduced due to natural gas development.

New York

Satellite data show New York City has seen a 32% decrease in nitrogen dioxide between the 2005-2007 (left) and 2009-2011 (right) periods. Image Credit: NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio/T. Schindler

Those are the messages that must be sent and they need to be repeated ad infinitum. Update New York cannot survive unless it convinces that 63% that what happens outside that tiny 4% of land on which it resides matters to their own livelihood, which will not be advanced by NRDC gang efforts to make a wilderness out of it.

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9 thoughts on “What’s the Matter with New York?

  1. It’s not just New York City but every village and town as well.Despite the fact that they heat their homes, cook their food and drive their cars with fuel from fracked wells, they will tell you loud and clear they wouldn’t have it if it were up to them. I doubt very much that you can educate them until there is a shortage of energy.As in there is no gas at the pump or the lights don’t come on

    • I invite you to come for a tour of the downstate area. Ask people what they know about energy, natural gas, fracking and pipelines. They know what is being broadcast if they know anything. What’s being broadcast?

  2. http://www.berkshireeagle.com/stories/pipeline-resistance-builds-as-thoreau-protest-cabin-goes-up-in-otis-state-forest,506753

    A. Stop pretending that 63 percent of the people or any large percent control anything or everything. This is a fallacy. The average NYC citizen or downstate suburbanite has zip zero nada to do with new york state’s energy policy or the antifracking pipeline fever that is now sweeping the country.

    B. Who made fracking such a big issue in NY State? NYC apartment dwellers with no property, retirement or summer homes in upstate New York , southern tier or elsewhere? Please. That is absurd.

    C. Wow. It sure looks like some folks are building another replica of Walden’s cabin plus getting ready for a resistance camp over a natural gas pipeline. Think this is apartment dwellers and downstate suburbanites looking to get themselves arrested? I doubt it.

    D. The antifracking pipeline resistance movement is specific people and organizations exerting their tremendous influence all over the place. How do they achieve their goals? Well they are organized and networked, some professionals and some not target politicians and superduper press savvy.

  3. http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2017/05/09/some-chase-branches-in-seattle-closed-by-protests-over-pipeline-loans.html

    Oh look. Organized protests against a bank over a pipeline. That’s now a trend. When did the trend begin?

    Know what’s wrong with new york and matters a lot? The press is asleep on this issue or it is under the thumb and overly influenced by the antifracking movement and anti pipeline movement itself. That’s been so for years. Don’t underestimate the impact of that either. Who had the ability to reach the most people?

  4. Give “South New York” the downstate nine counties plus the Prince as the booby prize, “North New York” will do just fine economically since those who don’t pull their own weight will run out of “NNY” like greased lightning.

  5. Whats wrong with NY
    So many Dogs in the hunt for NYs energy dollars.
    So many different angles and so much greed !
    New NY ? Yah right , just ask the 100-200 or so of us who dared show their faces in Bainbrige. The same goes for the Albany march. Too few dared show up . How can you blame them ? Most folks have better things to do than get harassed by paid thugs.
    You want pipes , we wanted drill permits first. Well some did, others sit collecting lease payments and kinda like it that way, without any development , Its Free money.
    Some want pipes to move their product to market, others want pipes to import gas and steal that same market. Who,s winning seems pretty clear don’t it? Not NY and not Pa.
    You show me a land owner who wants a high pressure 42 incher in their front yard and I,ll show you a person preparing to move !
    As you all know by now, I am all for NG done in a fare and equitable manner, not done to create stolen wealth for some wall street crook.
    Remember , friends don’t let friends consume imported energy, or should I call it dirty energy ? They burn a lot of it to get it here!
    Burn domestic and save a good job for a friend or neighbor . Not some slave wage slob being used dirty by some greedy investor like the ones running your pension funds.
    Whats wrong with NY ? All of us.

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