Always look askance at politicians who claim to care for “the little guy.”

In New York State, where its dominant political class claims to be the model of progressivism, its energy policies are hurting the “little guy” at the behest of wealthy environmentalists.

These elites are demanding that fossil fuels be replaced by “renewable” energy sources. Governor Andrew Cuomo is obliging them. The result is that ordinary New Yorkers who are poor, working-class and middle-class are and will be paying a steep price for such energy fantasies.

Front and center in this current energy battle is natural gas.

Governor Cuomo’s refusal to approve new natural gas pipelines for New York State is predictably hurting ordinary New Yorkers. Just last week, stories have appeared describing small businesses and homeowners being told by National Grid, a downstate utility, that natural gas hook-ups are not available because they are at capacity.

As CFACT reported earlier this year, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which Gov. Cuomo controls, denied the permits to build the proposed Williams pipeline that would transmit natural gas from Pennsylvania to New York City and Long Island. Months before that, the agency similarly denied natural gas infrastructure permits for Westchester County, just north of the City.

New York State is blessed with centuries worth of natural gas from the vast Utica and Marcellus shale regions in upstate. But Gov. Cuomo, for purely political reasons, has maintained a “moratorium” on hydro-fracturing for natural gas. Reversing this self-inflicted harm would make importing gas from out of state unnecessary.

In an act of enormous chutzpah, Gov. Cuomo’s response to this growing, politician-made energy crisis is to investigate the utility companies.

He recently ordered the state Public Service Commission, which regulates energy and utility companies and which is controlled by the governor, to “examine steps” to reverse service denials. He also ordered the agency to look into reducing National Grid’s service area, which would harm its business, and “impose appropriate sanctions and penalties” as if the utilities, rather than he, are the culprits.

Sure enough, the Commission is “investigating” the downstate utility companies, National Grid and Consolidated Edison, “to determine whether they took appropriate actions to balance the need for reliability with customer impacts in declaring a moratorium on new natural gas hookups.”

It stands to reason, why would utility companies deny gas to new customers, which lowers their sales and profitability? Perhaps because they cannot supply enough due to lack of pipeline infrastructure? This is not complicated.

Governor Cuomo and his bureaucrats should look in the mirror, but they won’t.

Rather than “investigating” the utility companies for why they are denying new gas customers, which hurts their revenue stream, someone needs to investigate the Cuomo administration’s ideological refusal to allow more natural gas to ordinary New Yorkers.

Who might undertake such an investigation? Not the State Attorney General, who shares Gov. Cuomo’s environmental extremism; and not the State Legislature. Both houses now have large Democratic majorities, which also are pushing an environmental agenda to shift from fossil fuels in order to “address” climate change.

The growing energy crisis in New York is self-inflicted by the political class, led by Gov. Cuomo. It is exactly the type of situation to which the State Legislature, as a separate branch of government, should be holding hearings and demanding explanations from the governor’s appointees. Except, the Legislature will do no such thing, because most of its members have adopted the same environmental religion and have compounded the problem.

Last June, after years of trying, the Legislature passed New York’s version of the Green New Deal, which will be administered by an unelected council with unprecedented regulatory control to force-feed expensive and unreliable renewable energy use on the state’s residents and businesses.

New York State’s green push for massive renewable energy use, and denial of clean-burning, abundant natural gas, is starting to bite, as environmental fantasy clashes with economic reality. Gov. Cuomo and the New York’s political class will not relent on their very un-progressive effort to impose unrealistic renewable energy mandates until, possibly, enough New Yorkers who they pretend to care about suffer the consequences.

With each passing month, expect more stories of ordinary New Yorkers feeling the brunt and paying the price of this energy crunch, inflicted upon them by their own politicians.

Author

  • CFACT, founded in 1985 by Craig Rucker and the late (truly great) David Rothbard, examines the relationship between human freedom, and issues of energy, environment, climate, economics, civil rights and more.