Frontpage
Facebook

Imagine: The biggest, most important city in America, cut off from new supplies of natural gas vital to its growth. Fact is, such a nightmare could be just a couple of weeks off.

National Grid has warned that unless Gov. Cuomo OKs a new pipeline through the New York Bay by May 15, it may have to turn away new gas customers in Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island. Con Ed has issued a similar warning.

Con Ed already placed a moratorium on new gas hookups in most of Westchester for lack of sufficient pipelines. And despite a recent deal for more gas from an existing line, the soonest that ban might be lifted, it now says, is . . . 2023.

To most sane people, a shortage of a key energy source in a city like New York would be unthinkable. Yet it’s the stated goal of enviro-radicals, who want to end the use of all fossil fuel by tomorrow, if not sooner. Let New Yorkers go without.

And Cuomo has been doing their bidding by killing new pipeline projects.

It’s crazy. After all, even if climate change could be slowed by a one-state ban on fossil fuel, New Yorkers would still need a transition period. Alternatives — wind, solar, geothermal — need to be developed and made more economical. Builders and property owners need time to prepare.

Ironically, gas is supposed to help New York switch off oil, which produces far more greenhouse gas. Even aides to Mayor de Blasio warned last month that a gas moratorium would boost the city’s reliance on oil.

The worst fallout from giving up gas cold turkey, of course, is that it will choke growth. The Real Estate Board of New York’s John Banks warns of slowing development and “harm” to the economy. Queens Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Grech echoes this, fearing that “failure to act would be devastating.”

Plus, National Grid expects it’ll need to hike gas bills without the pipeline. Con Ed would likely find itself in a similar spot.

Pols pandering to the radicals have put pressure on Cuomo to nix the New York Bay pipeline. New Yorkers should pray he does the right thing — and ignores them.

Total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 reached their lowest levels since 1992, according to the final Environmental Protection Agency Greenhouse Gas Inventory released this month. As International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol recently stated,

“In the last 10 years, the emissions reductions in the United States has been the largest in the history of energy – almost 800 million tons – and this is a huge decline of emissions.”

Total U.S. GHG emissions fell by 35.6 million metric tons CO2 equivalent (MMT CO2Eq.), or 0.5 percent, from 2016 to 2017 – a steeper decline than was previously estimated in the agency’s draft report in February.

Since 2005 – the starting point for the Paris Climate Accords – total U.S. GHG emissions fell by 12 percent and total GHG emissions from fossil fuel combustion decreased nearly 15 percent. Meanwhile, U.S. oil and natural gas production increased more than 80 percent and 51 percent, respectively, and natural gas consumption increased 23 percent, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Petroleum and natural gas system methane emissions continue to decline.

Amid record-breaking oil and natural gas production, methane emissions from petroleum and natural gas systems decreased 31.9 MMT CO2Eq. from 1990 to 2017.

According to the EPA inventory, emissions from natural gas systems decreased by 27.5 MMT CO2Eq. (14.2 percent), “largely due to a decrease in emissions from distribution, transmission and storage, processing, and exploration.” And the report credits a 4.4 MMT CO2Eq. (or 10.5 percent) reduction in emissions from petroleum systems due “primarily to decreases in tank emissions and associated gas venting.”

U.S. power sector continues to see significant emissions declines.

According to the inventory, CO2 emissions from electric power generation fell 668 MMT CO2Eq. from 2005 to 2017. The report explains that this has occurred while total electric power generation has remained relatively flat for the past five years – something EPA credits to the “increased generation from natural gas and renewable energy sources.”

A 2018 EIA report found that growth in natural gas consumption can be credited for 61 percent of the total 3.86 billion metric tons of electric generation CO2 reductions since 2005. And, as EID’s recent fact sheet explains, data from the same report showed that during this time period, natural gas has cut 50 percent more emissions than wind and solar combined for electricity generation.

Conclusion

As United Nations Energy Programme chief Erik Solheim said in 2017:

“In all likelihood, the United States of America will live up to its Paris commitment, not because of the White House, but because of the private sector.”

The United States is leading the world in carbon emissions reductions which continue to be of increasing importance for America’s oil and natural gas industry. The increased supply of natural gas – thanks to shale – is fueling new natural gas-fired power plants and helping the electric power sector experience record-low emissions. And the best part: each new data set demonstrates that these environmental benefits do not have to come at the expense of economic opportunity.

The following LTE appears inthis week's Hometown Oneonta:
 
 
Oneonta needs natural gas. Supply is not meeting demand in downstate's Westchester, Brooklyn, and Queens as well as well as upstate's Oneonta. The cracks are beginning to show.

The latest skirmish in Otsego County's Gas Wars is over the deployment of a decompressor station in the old D & H railyard. NYSEG's gas feed to Oneonta is seasonally limited; it can't guarantee supply to large users (colleges, hospital facilities, and businesses) during protracted cold spells. NYSEG won't upgrade the feeder line for years to come. Business and our local IDA support the decompressor station; the anti-gas faction oppose it. In Dan Butterman's opposition LTElast week, "We Can Support Economic Development Without Gas," he defies both experience and logic, here and abroad. Sorry, Mr. Butterman. There's little growth in our region without affordable energy.

We've tried. Since 2005, Otsego County has created three economic plans, all citing the attractiveness of our tech, tourist, educational, and cultural attractions. Results - minimal growth among an aging population while the young flee for opportunity. A fourth Plan is now in the works. We have transformed our IDA, Otsego Now, into a one-stop shop to facilitate financing and administrative hurdles. Over the last four years we've hired two IDA CEOs. Both have said we need the availability of natural gas to keep and attract new jobs. Economic growth is their day jobs. They've been clear. We need natural gas if want to create jobs in this area.

In Otsego County a relatively small, organized, articulate, dedicated, close-minded group are opposed to ANY form of gas expansion. They feel the use of fossil fuels will destroy the planet. The timeline to Doomsday is elastic; some say twelve years and it's curtains. Others, among them Mr. Butterman, give us until 2050 to be fossil fuel free.

There is another group in the County that favors ALL forms of energy. Their composition is more defuse, many in private business, mostly quiet, hesitant to speak up in public. However, most people don't care one way or another, as long as the lights go on and the stove works. Public polls consistently show climate change is a low priority among the American public. In last week's CNN's poll of the most important issues for the 2020 election, climate change didn't even make the Top Ten.

So, given our demographics and our local economic needs, how do we move the needle towards growth? Is opposition to any form of fossil energy in Otsego County useful even from an ecological standpoint? Perspective helps.

Two facts; the use of coal in electric generation is a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG). The United States produces about 15% of the worlds GHG. To see who's producing the other 85% some recent headlines are helpful. "Coal Isn't Dead. China Proves It," (Forbes 1/19/19) -- China will build 700 more coal fired generators by 2027. A second article "Coal is King in India and Likely to Remain So" (Brookings Institute, 3/8/19) confirms a 10 year trend noted in Mining.com that there will be 1,600 new coal generators built in 62 countries by 2027. And here we are in Otsego County dithering over emissions from couple of truckloads of natural gas delivered to the D&H railyards so we can get and keep local jobs. PLEASE!!!

The D & H fractivists are part of the global opposition to natural gas infrastructure. Nonetheless, the substitution of gas for coal in power plants since the shale revolution is the main reason our emissions fell to 32 year lows. This occurred in spite of an 85 million population growth, a growing economy, and more energy use per capita. (EIA Energy Report 10/29/18).

 

If gas was allowed to be drilled, allowed to be to be piped to LNG ports in the United State for export to China and India, if LNG ports had been expedited instead of slow-walked through the approval process in the previous administration, we'd all have a cleaner planet. And a wealthier planet also!

 

Germany, the paragon of climate correctness, has spent close to a trillion dollars on conversion to green energy. Twenty-eight of its electricity is derived from renewable sources. For the last few years its efforts have plateaued, unable to produce more 'clean" energy without the help of two gas (yes, GAS) pipelines from Russia and three proposed LNG ports near Hamburg. In the meantime, its rate per kwh has skyrocketed over three times what we pay in NYS. Germany supports a whole new class of people called the "the energy poor" who pay over 10% of their income for energy. Think about it. If we can't attract employers at current electric rates, how are going to do so when the rates triple?

Meanwhile, the USA overflows with gas. Production records were set for the second consecutive year in 2018. Domestic consumption also hit all-time highs, jumping ten percent last year. The Marcellus, the second largest field in the USA, is less than 2 hours away by car. The Utica Shale, by all accounts, is also prolific. New Yorkers, the fourth largest consumers of natural gas, are zeroed out of this bonanza. So, no new gas for us from under our feet or piped down our streets? Is that the deal?

 

Mr. Butterman says he's against the D&H decompressor station because it "wastes taxpayer money." Since Mr. Butterman is running for public office again, a simple question -- where does he stand? No new gas infrastructure for Otsego County? Only renewables?

Attachments:
Download this file (butterman redux 2.odt)butterman redux 2.odt23 kB

Mark P. Mills and James B. Meigs join John Stossel to discuss the Green New Deal, the limits of wind and solar power, and the “magical thinking” of an all-renewable energy future.

Countries around the world are embracing subsidies to expand the production of renewables, and environmentalists claim that we’re on the cusp of a tech-driven energy revolution that will make oil and gas obsolete. Are they right?

Not likely. According to Meigs and Mills, improvements in wind and solar technology are reaching their theoretical limits. It would be virtually impossible to generate the amount of wind and solar power necessaryto replace the world’s oil and gas consumption. And yet, renewables enjoy strong political support, while nuclear technology, our best source of clean, reliable, and—yes—safe electricity, faces intense political opposition.

 

In January, the overt struggle between New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and natural gas inundated front page news when New York’s major utility, Con Edison, announced plans to implement a moratorium on new natural gas connections in most of Westchester County. Then, just as the moratorium went into effect on March 15, the state offered up a $250 million Hail-Mary funding plan for clean energy projects aimed at moderating the moratorium’s impact.

The problematic condition of New York’s energy future has been percolating for quite some time. That’s because identifying a silver bullet to address the climate change threat without completely upending our everyday lives is not easy. Cuomo’s attempts to capitalize politically on his enacted solutions has resulted in harmful consequences, as people who live outside New York City are discovering.In 2014, Cuomo imposed a ban on hydraulic fracturing and has since stalled several proposed pipeline projects that would serve natural gas through the state, such as the Constitution, Northern Access and the Williams projects. These decisions stem from the governor’s green agenda and proposals, including his comprehensive statewide plan to make New York’s electricity generation 100% carbon-neutral by 2040, with hopes to eventually eliminate the state’s entire carbon footprint.

The problem with this is that natural gas remains an important part of the climate change solution. As promising as renewables such as solar and wind power are, we are still years away from being able to rely exclusively on these sources and energy innovations still in the research stage. Right now, natural gas is a cleaner and affordable option and to date Cuomo has done all he can to take this important bridge fuel off the table.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are now at their lowest level since 1992 largely facilitated by utilities switch from coal to cleaner natural gas. Cuomo’s policies would frustrate this progress.

Interestingly, the Environmental Defense Fund, a natural ally in Cuomo’s war on carbon, sees the moratorium Con Ed was forced to adopt as a threat to long-term climate change goals. At a hearing last month, EDF’s director of energy market policy said curtailing natural gas use was having “adverse environmental impacts.” Jonathan Peress stressed that “opposing or preventing all pipeline capacity expansion into New York is not an effective climate policy.” In fact, he added that natural gas utilities and pipelines “have an important role to play” in achieving climate goals, specifically in “fostering greenhouse gas reductions."

The plan recently announced by New York regulators — also known as the Westchester Clean Energy Investment Program — does an effective job of appearing like it is solving the moratorium issue, but is simply a deflection from the real access crisis at hand. Among the 50 states, New York ranked fifth in terms of use of natural gas consumption for electric power generation in 2017.

The more the state is denied access to natural gas, the more it will raise electricity rates and deprive the state from a clean energy source. Rejecting job-creating work in pipeline construction and putting upward pressure on home heating costs is certainly not in the interest of people in New York of limited means. Not to mention that this $250 million dollars will be directly funded by taxpayers who would be better served by policies and private investments that facilitate the use of affordable and clean natural gas rather than expensive programs offered up as a crisis mitigation plan.

People in the Northeast will continue to rely on natural gas. Business in the region will need natural gas to operate competitively. But policies like those championed by Cuomo deliberately deny residents and businesses in the region access to an energy source that is abundant, affordable, safe and clean.

McDonald, founder and president of African American Environmentalist Association, which is dedicated to protecting the environment and increasing African American participation in the environmental movement.

JLCNY Calendar

No events

Recent Stories

Newsletter Signup!

Signup and stay informed.

View Past Newsletters
Joomla Extensions powered by Joobi
Donations