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Karen Moreau holds press briefing on lack of infrastructure in New York




As prepared for delivery

Press conference call: Lack of infrastructure is hurting New York consumers, jobs and the environment
Karen Moreau
Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Good morning, and thank you for joining our call.

Once again, New York is paying the price for an energy policy decision that puts politics over the public interest. The Cuomo administration’s shortsighted decision to block the Constitution Pipeline will not only destroy construction jobs and raise utility costs; it also jeopardizes our progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

While electricity and heating costs have dropped in most states, New York’s electricity prices are the eighth highest in the nation – nearly 50 percent more than the national average – due in large part to self-imposed infrastructure constraints.1  Despite being a day’s drive away from Pennsylvania’s ample natural gas supplies, Northeastern states make up five of the top ten states for highest retail electricity prices. Governor Cuomo has banned New York families and businesses from the benefits of accessing our own state's energy resources through hydraulic fracturing, and now we’re banned from building the pipelines we need to get energy from other states. As the rest of the nation enjoys the economic benefits of the shale energy revolution, Gov. Cuomo’s policies have sealed New York off from job growth and affordable energy.

The state made a politically motivated, short-sighted decision to support those who believe it advances their climate agenda. Natural gas is lowering emissions. You can’t grow the use of renewables without natural gas as base load and the governor’s own energy plan assumes significant growth in natural gas use, but we can neither produce it nor transport it here.

The United States leads the world in emissions reductions, and greater use of natural gas in the power sector is a leading factor in cutting U.S. carbon emissions from energy consumption to 20-year lows. It’s ironic New York’s energy-related carbon emissions dropped 24.5 percent2  between 2005 and 2013, and New York City has achieved its cleanest air quality levels in 50 years, largely due to increased use of natural gas.3  Natural gas that the governor's policies could make more costly and difficult to obtain.

Power projects using natural gas account for 56 percent of New York’s generating capacity4, and more than 70 percent of all proposed generating capacity in New York is natural gas or dual fuel power projects.5  New York’s natural gas needs can’t be ignored, and the Constitution Pipeline offered an ideal solution that would have delivered reliable, affordable energy and created 2,400 construction jobs.

Pipelines remain one of the safest, most efficient ways to transport energy, and the Constitution Pipeline, which included over $26 million in pledged environmental mitigation measures, had completed an exhaustive, cooperative review process and won federal approval.

Renewable energy sources have a role to play in our power mix, but pitting them against natural gas sets up a false choice. In reality, renewables and natural gas work together, with natural gas providing reliable power when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, even under the most optimistic scenarios for renewable energy growth, oil and natural gas will still supply 60 percent of U.S. energy needs by 2040.

To fully realize the economic benefits of our position as the world’s leading oil and natural gas producer, America needs more energy infrastructure of all kinds, including rail. With the Port of Albany’s role as a major transfer hub for crude oil, the transport of oil by rail has become another topic subject to misinformation. New Yorkers should know that North America's rail network moves 99.99 percent of hazardous materials, including crude oil, without incident, according to the Association of American Railroads. Further, multiple studies by regulators and industry show crude oil from the Bakken region, which is often transported by rail through our state, does not present greater than normal transportation risks for flammable liquids.

Seventy-eight percent of Northeastern residents support increased development of America’s energy infrastructure. They deserve better than policies that sacrifice their long-term economic interests for short-term, narrow political gains. To continue emissions progress, create jobs and reduce energy costs for consumers and manufacturers, New York must prioritize energy infrastructure.

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[1] EIA, Electric Power Monthly, April 2015

[2] EIA, Energy-related Carbon Dioxide Emissions at the State Level, 2003-2013, October 26, 2015, http://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/state/analysis/

[3] http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/311-13/mayor-bloomberg-new-york-city-s-air-quality-has-reached-cleanest-levels-more-than/#/0

[4] NYISO – Power Trends 2015 - http://www.nyiso.com/public/webdocs/media_room/press_releases/2015/Child_PowerTrends_2015/ptrends2015_FINAL.pdf

[5] Id.

[6] EIA, Annual Energy Outlook 2015