Commentary: Gas ban would have huge consequences for businesses

March 27, 2023

Lucas Stritsman | March 24, 2023

Make no mistake about it: Gov. Kathy Hochul is absolutely coming for your gas appliances.

Government officials, environmental advocates and members of the media can roll their eyes over the outcry or come up with euphemisms – like calling it a “phaseout” – but whatever you call it, once New York outlaws the purchase of new gas appliances, my family-owned small business, and possibly hundreds of other mom-and-pop shops across the state, will go out of business. And the environmental or health benefits being touted by supporters of the ban are either wildly overstated or simply nonexistent.

So far, the debate around the ban has been set up as environmental advocates against consumers and homeowners, with very little attention being paid to business owners – like me – who sell these popular appliances. According to the Northeast Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association, there are more than 3,000 businesses – many of them family owned – across New York that sell gas-fired grills, stoves, fireplaces, and similar items. Beyond that, there are thousands of associated businesses, including builders, repair personnel, and retail workers, that work in the industry.

For these New York business owners and employees, the impact of such a ban would be much more than simply losing access to gas for cooking, heating and recreation. Hochul’s policy would devastate hundreds of small businesses and local contractors, with consequences for our state’s economy and tens of thousands of people who live and work here.

My business was founded in 1977 by my father, Wayne Stritsman. Over the years it grew to employ 38 people and helped more than 100,000 happy clients. Our business has put me and my siblings through college, and it helped my employees do the same. Over 70 percent of our business is in high-efficiency gas fireplaces, which require skilled technicians, whom we employ, to install and service. Once the ban on gas goes into effect, I don’t know how we’re going to survive. Thousands of local fireplace businesses like mine will be forced to lay off our skilled workers.

Supporters of the ban are arguing that eliminating gas appliances would be good for the environment and people’s health. They ignore the fact that all of the products we sell are heavily regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, with strict certifications and emissions protocols. And it’s hard to quantify the environmental benefits of eliminating gas appliances in New York on a global scale – which is the only way to measure the impact on our climate – mostly because it would be so unbelievably small. According to a study from Stanford, all of the gas stoves in the country contribute about 0.18 percent of the pollution produced by cars in the United States. What percentage of that comes from New York? What percentage of that contributes to global emissions?

Since taking office, Gov. Hochul has said over and over that improving the economy was a top priority during her first full term in office. However, policies like this fast-moving “phaseout” of gas appliances would do the opposite, with virtually no measurable benefit for New Yorkers’ health or our environment. Don’t ignore the fact that keeping good businesses like mine will keep New Yorkers employed with good-paying jobs, making New York a great place to live.

Lucas Stritsman is the president and general manager of Best Fire Hearth & Patio, based in Albany.

Op-Ed | We need to fix energy problems without harming New Yorkers in the process

March 22, 2023

Heather Briccetti Mulligan | March 15, 2023

It’s clear that we live in a highly polarized society but dig a little deeper and you’ll find that there are some points where many of us agree.

For starters, climate change is an issue that affects every single person, family, community, and company. I don’t believe you will find many who oppose that view.

Another likely point of agreement: families from Niagara Falls to Riverhead are struggling to pay their bills. From food to medicine to housing to the cost of energy, prices have skyrocketed, and no one knows when they will stabilize. All anyone needs to do is look at the latest Siena poll. New Yorkers worry about affordability. Only the fear of crime is more worrisome to New Yorkers than the price of living in this great State.

Thankfully, there is one way to address both climate change and economic issues facing New Yorkers.

We must create a smart energy policy that includes a careful balance all options, solar, on- and off-shore wind, nuclear increased storage, and natural gas including renewable natural gas and green hydrogen. All of which help our environment and create good high paying jobs.

Right now, that is not happening.

There are dozens of bills and regulations being discussed in Albany at this very moment. Many are being pushed without thoughtful analysis. Many are flawed and will have unintended consequences. If approved, some of these proposals would actually hurt New Yorkers because the policies will not create the holistic, comprehensive plan that we need. They will not bridge current clean energy resources with renewable development.

What will this cost New Yorkers? Hundreds of millions? Billions? Who knows? It’s clear nobody knows.

What we do know is that gasoline prices will increase – some estimates say as high as an additional dollar per gallon. Food prices will increase. Companies will leave New York. Jobs will be lost. And, moving too fast will make the grid unreliable. That’s not what we need right now.

New Yorkers need to understand the harmful unintended effects of the proposals that are now working their way through Albany. There is a wrong way and a right way to fix our energy issues without hurting New Yorkers. Let’s take some time to make sure we get it right.

Heather Briccetti Mulligan, President and CEO of The Business Council of New York State


March 1, 2023

Polling from The Siena College Research for New Yorkers for Affordable Energy Shows Cost Concerns Weigh Heavily on New Yorker’s Minds

Most New Yorkers are Not Familiar with the State’s Proposed Climate Policies, Strongly Support Keeping Natural Gas as Part of the Energy & Heating Mix, and Oppose Cost Increases

Upstate New York Voters, Particularly Those in the Western Portions of the State, Consistently Reject the Policies of the Climate Action Council & Overwhelmingly Support the Use of Natural Gas

(Albany, NY) – The New Yorkers for Affordable Energy (NYAE) coalition today released polling results from a survey conducted by the Siena College Research Institute which shows that large majorities of New Yorkers – especially in Upstate and Western New York – strongly support keeping natural gas as part of the state’s energy mix. Further, while a majority of New Yorkers favor State action to tackle climate change, they strongly believe that the most serious problem facing New York is cost of living, and that the financial impact of climate policies is a serious concern.

Siena researchers also concluded that New Yorkers are concerned about the costs associated with aggressive electrification policies. New York consumers use and like natural gas and, overall, prefer a transition that continues to include the availability of natural gas. The research concluded that an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers (80%) also agree that an “all-of-the-above” approach using electric, fuels like natural gas, renewable natural gas and hydrogen would lessen emissions and promote energy efficiency. 

The full results of the polling can be downloaded here.

Siena’s research findings show that voters are largely aligned with the points NYAE has been making for years: while they do support doing what they can to help the environment, voters are concerned about cost, and not only want to keep natural gas as an option for heating and powering their homes, but also believe that natural gas can help New York achieve its climate goals.

Some key findings from the polling include:

  • 87% are concerned about the costs that consumers will have to absorb moving away from heating with natural gas, propane, or oil;
  • 83% of consumers say they are not willing to pay more than $100 more a month on their energy bills;
  • A strong majority (80%) are concerned that switching all buildings to being all-electric will result in power outages;
  • Western New Yorkers strongly opposed measures to phase out gas appliances including new construction (68%), and a phase out in existing residential homes (65%);
  • Three-quarters of all respondents use natural gas in their homes. Of those, 60% would be either very (35%) or somewhat (25%) upset if they no longer had the option to use natural gas for cooking. Nearly two-thirds of all respondents are either not very (29%) or not at all (33%) familiar with the provisions of New York’s Climate Law, and;
  • Two-thirds of respondents across all demographics don’t think we can generate enough electricity to heat our buildings and hot water on the plan’s timeline.


Buffalo South District Councilmember, President Pro Tempore, Christopher Scanlon:
“Before a full-scale conversion from natural gas to other alternatives can take place, all potential impacts to the residents of Buffalo must be taken into account. I am in full support of clean energy initiatives which provide benefits to the environment, but the legislative framework for these types of transitions must be fully in place prior to implementation. We cannot expect city residents, especially low-income families, to carry the financial burden of the potential upgrades required to meet certain thresholds for which the state is not prepared.”

Constance Bradley, President, Transport Workers Union Local 101:
“People are worried about getting socked with higher costs and more frequent power outages. Imposing gas bans will force homeowners to shell out tens of thousands of dollars to increase the electricity capacity of their homes and buy new equipment. Putting every building on the Grid will make it more likely the system will get overwhelmed and falter.” 

Mike Florio, CEO, Long Island Builder’s Institute:
“Like most New Yorkers, we support the goals of the climate action council and the need to transition towards a clean energy future.  The transition period should include a mix of clean fuels, including natural gas, a realistic timeline for implementation that does not additionally burden consumers with increased costs and further certainty that the grid is capable and resilient enough to handle the increased load.” 

Dottie Gallagher, President & CEO, Buffalo Niagara Partnership:
“Any proposal to ban natural gas is impractical, irresponsible, and will do significant damage to our state economy. New York can and must safeguard both our environment, but in a practical way that safeguards our economy. Lawmakers should reject any budget that includes any phase out of natural gas.”

Tom Grech, President and CEO, Queens Chamber of Commerce:
“New Yorkers from every region of the state understand that we need to urgently fight climate change, while ensuring that we have affordable, reliable and safe energy sources. Natural gas can continue to heat and power homes and small businesses throughout New York while helping the state meet its climate goals. We must make sure it remains accessible, particularly at a time when many are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living and doing business.” 

Pat Guidice, Business Manager, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1049:
“We are facing a crisis in New York with the rush to ban natural gas based on ideology without considering how that ban will affect energy customers and working families. The potential for economic catastrophe facing the state, working families, and businesses will be devastating. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers work every day on the natural gas system to provide reliable and safe energy for millions of their neighbors. They will face mass unemployment. We need a PLAN not a BAN! If the State continues down this road, many will lose their jobs and more businesses will leave the State. Why would anyone even think it’s acceptable to cause economic harm to workers during a time when the cost of living is skyrocketing? I have not seen any real plan for ‘Just Transition’, I only see ‘transition’ to low wage employment.”

John Samuelsen, International President, Transport Workers Union:
“New Yorkers aren’t stupid. They know who will wind up footing the bill if the state bans natural gas, and mandates every building only use electricity for heating, cooking, and all other energy needs. They will. When that happens, they won’t be concerned anymore. They will be furious. And even more so when members of their communities are put out of work due to lack of just transition for workers in the natural gas industry.”

Daniel Ortega, Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative Local 825:
“What is most obvious from the data is that Albany’s priorities are the oppositive of what every day New Yorkers want when it comes to their energy needs. We need to prioritize affordable energy solutions that put trades people to work. When you compare the traditional versus renewable energy sources, the work hours don’t compare. We must continue to prioritize natural gas.”

Ken Pokalsky, Vice President of Government Affairs, The Business Council of New York State:
“In this survey, New Yorkers are expressing concerns similar to we have been hearing from businesses across New York State. The state’s current blueprint for meeting renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction targets provides little to no information on the future cost of energy and provides too little detail on how the reliability of the state’s electric grid will be maintained as we move toward 100% renewable generation. It is essential that New York have a complete plan for meeting the state’s environmental and energy goals while assuring adequate and affordable energy for businesses and residents alike.”

Kyle Strober, Executive Director, Association for a Better Long Island:
“While the aspirational goal of a carbon free energy future is an admirable objective, ignoring the realities of how people heat their homes, prepare their food, and leverage natural gas to drive the economy has the potential to put our state at risk. This proposal can’t be achieved by regulatory dictate and certainly not without a master plan with business input.”


The Siena College Research Institute conducted a survey among New York residents from February 5-9, 2023, seeking to understand peoples’ opinions on the proposals in the Scoping Plan that is associated with New York State’s clean energy and climate agenda. A total of 897 surveys were completed with a margin of error of +/- 3/7 percentage points after considering the design effect of weighting. An online proprietary panel was used to complete 400 surveys. The remaining surveys were completed by phone using a duel frame (land and cell) random-digit dial sample. 

There was an oversample of western New York residents in Erie and Niagara counties (a sub-sample of 100) which has a margin of error of +/- 9.8 percentage points including the design effect resulting from weighting. The respondents from this sub-sample of western New York residents were weighted in the New York State data to be representative of their statewide proportion.

New Yorkers for Affordable Energy is a coalition of community, labor, business and industry leaders from across the state who support greater access to clean, reliable and affordable sources of energy for residential and business consumers. We understand the important role that natural gas plays in our everyday lives, from heating and cooling our homes to powering our communities. As demand for energy continues to grow, New Yorkers for Affordable Energy supports efforts to reduce stateside greenhouse gas emissions. Our coalition believes in a diverse, all-of-the-above approach to New York’s electric grid, and that natural gas can and should be used to facilitate decarbonization. Natural gas is still widely used in manufacturing facilities, power production, transportation, and serves as a catalyst for job growth, supporting New York’s economy and quality of life.

New York’s risky all-or-nothing energy policy

October 18, 2022

Michelle Hook | October 17, 2022

Last month, Gov. Hochul warned New Yorkers that home heating and energy prices are expected to skyrocket this winter, while also asking that utility companies take steps to prepare for a lack of available natural gas. The announcement tacitly acknowledges that this winter, New York will need to burn higher-emitting fossil fuels — like oil — to keep people warm and run the electrical grid. It was a subtle but dire warning, and unfortunately, the crisis it foretells was eminently preventable.

Due to the aggressive advocacy of a small group of environmentalists, Albany has failed to enact energy policies that meet the dual goals of moving New York toward the state’s ambitious climate goals while protecting consumers from blackouts and rising energy costs. While the war in Ukraine has certainly exacerbated the problem, this moment has been years in the making — with many warning signs.

On the same day that Hochul issued her warning, New York’s energy grid operator outlined what is necessary to meet the emissions reduction targets in the state’s climate law. It’s estimated New York will need to add 20,000 megawatts of power to the grid in the next seven years. That’s roughly 10 new power generators with the output of the just-closed Indian Point nuclear plant.

To make things even worse, the report says that if we don’t meet the target, New York will need to rely on high-emitting resources — like coal power imported from neighboring states — because we don’t generate enough power here.

New York isn’t going to make it. Even if New York meets its most ambitious offshore wind targets, there will still be a significant power gap. It’s nearly impossible to fill this gap with the cleanest alternatives, because New York has enacted a de facto ban on any new, non-renewable power generation.

This same scenario is already playing out in California, and it’s a disaster. The state spent years pushing to quickly shutter their fossil-fuel facilities, and by 2020, California found itself importing the same fossil-fuel power from out of state. When other states needed the power for themselves and recalled it, California — which had relied too heavily on renewables alone while shuttering and denying traditional power resources — was left sweltering in the dark. Earlier this year, Gov. Gavin Newsom called for the creation of a $5 billion fund to establish a network of “reliability reserve” (aka: fossil fuel-powered) generators to prevent the crisis from happening again.

Other states are being more pragmatic, making strides in emissions reductions by using an all-of-the-above approach. Pittsburgh International Airport just installed the first-ever microgrid that operates on both solar power and natural gas. This new project achieved $1 million in energy savings in its first year and cut carbon dioxide emissions by about 8.2 million pounds. In mid-September, Pittsburgh hosted a clean energy forum touting the project’s efficiency and reduced emissions. At the same time, Climate Week was underway in New York City, where speakers and environmentalists treated natural gas as an energy pariah and discussed ways to eradicate its use.

This isn’t just shortsighted political expediency prioritized over sound energy policy; it’s hurting the environment. This winter, after years of denied permits and blocked natural gas infrastructure, New York will be relying much more heavily on oil to power and heat our homes — not just increasing carbon dioxide but also sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, which contribute heavily to asthma and respiratory illness.

As complex as energy policy can be, the solution for New York is simple. About 60% of New York’s power, and 70% of home heating, comes from natural gas. While natural gas is constrained in parts of the world, the United States sits on vast reserves. But even as the U.S. responds to global gas needs, New York lacks the infrastructure to transport it, and the power plants that use it are old and inefficient. These are solvable problems: In addition to renewable energy development, we should consider options to expand pipeline capacity, add transmission and update power plants with modern technology that also reduces emissions.

In a September column about Ukraine and energy policy, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman pointed to the irresponsibility of “moral-preening progressives who want an overnight immaculate green revolution” who need to “stop living in a green fantasy world that says we can go from dirty fossil fuels to clean renewable energy by just flipping a switch.”

There is a way to balance our energy needs with climate progress. Politicians need to focus on sound policies that protect New Yorkers and have the courage to do what’s right. Maybe this winter — when many New Yorkers may need to choose between heating their homes and eating — Albany will finally get a wakeup call.

Hook is the executive director for New Yorkers for Affordable Energy, a statewide coalition of business, community and labor leaders.

New Yorkers at risk of freezing thanks to City Council bid to kill off vital National Grid upgrade

September 28, 2022

Bryan Grimaldi | September 20, 2022

This week the New York Public Service Commission is holding public hearings on National Grid’s proposal to add two state-of-the-art, high-efficiency vaporizers to the Greenpoint Energy Center. This will allow us to meet existing customer demand for heat on the coldest days of the year while reducing the facility’s greenhouse-gas emissions.

Some progressive City Council members, however, are playing politics with the project, even introducing a resolution urging the commission to deny the permit. If their efforts succeed, the most at-risk New Yorkers and the city’s small-business owners will pay the price.

National Grid is dedicated to meeting the threat of climate change. In line with the benchmarks set out in the Paris agreement and the Science Based Targets initiative, as well as New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, we have committed to achieving net zero by 2050, and in April we released our Fossil Free Vision to fully eliminate fossil fuels from our US gas and electric systems.

But the clean-energy transition can’t happen overnight. While we move toward a fossil-free future, we must continue providing safe, reliable and affordable service to the New Yorkers who rely on us to heat their homes, cook their meals and power their businesses.

Vaporizers are critical to ensuring heat on the coldest days of the year. During the summer and other low-demand periods, National Grid liquifies and stores natural gas. Then, when temperatures drop, we use vaporizers to warm up this stored gas so it can be distributed to customers throughout the city. This does not happen often — as few as two or three days each year — but when it does, it’s essential to keeping New Yorkers warm. There is no Plan B.

Everyone deserves reliable heat during winter’s coldest days, but it’s especially important for the most vulnerable New Yorkers. Older people, those with chronic health conditions and families suffer the most from service interruptions. The proposed vaporizers are an important backup resource to ensure all our customers stay safe and warm year-round.

Besides ensuring affordable heat, the new vaporizers operate more efficiently than existing equipment, meaning they can provide the same vital service with fewer greenhouse-gas emissions. Of course, the ultimate goal remains to eliminate fossil gas from our heating systems, but this is an important step in the right direction.

Contrary to false claims this project will extend New York’s reliance on fossil fuels and create health and environmental risks for surrounding communities, independent assessments have concluded there are no other viable, short-term solutions to meet peak demand in coming winters — and the emissions will be lower than those today.

Indeed, it’s these publicity-grabbing efforts to stop approval of this vital infrastructure that put our customers — council’s constituents — at risk. Until renewable sources of energy scale to replace energy delivered by today’s systems, projects like this are not only necessary but critical to New Yorkers’ safety.

LNG vaporizers are like seatbelts. Most of the time, they’re just a precaution. But when there’s an emergency, they’re vitally important. Right now, New York is at greater risk of an emergency if we do not upgrade the Greenpoint Energy Center to meet rising demand for heat.

Fortunately, there’s a solution that will allow us to meet peak demand, even on the coldest days, while reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and advancing our ultimate goal of fossil-free heat. Elected officials opposing this project seek to score political points at the expense of their constituents — and environmental advocates are trying to set energy policy 140 characters at a time.

ne would hope our elected leaders would support reasonable energy policy based on facts and what’s practical for customers, not the idealism of the few who aren’t responsible for delivering safe, reliable and affordable energy to anyone.

Bryan Grimaldi is National Grid’s vice president of corporate affairs in New York.

Op-ed: A diversified, hybrid approach is the best way to meet emissions goals

August 15, 2022

Philip DeCicco | July 06, 2022

Last week a representative of the Sane Energy Project and No North Brooklyn Pipeline penned an opinion piece for Crain’s that leveled numerous bad-faith attacks against National Grid’s plan for an equitable clean energy transition in New York. Without evidence, the piece claimed National Grid stands in the way of New York’s climate change mitigation goals.

The opposite is true.

The fact is National Grid’s vision would exceed the decarbonization benchmarks set out in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Equally important, it keeps energy prices affordable and maintains reliable service.

National Grid’s vision for a fossil-free future is built on three pillars: increasing energy efficiency; supporting widespread adoption of non-gas energy sources, including targeted electrification powered by renewable sources, such as wind and solar; and replacing fossil fuels with clean alternatives, such as renewable natural gas and green hydrogen.

This hybrid approach is the most realistic, efficient and cost-effective way to meet our emissions goals. Millions of households rely on natural gas for heating, hot water, cooking and drying laundry. Thousands of businesses also rely on natural gas. Hospitals rely on the gas network as an emergency backup source of power.

Many of these homes and businesses cannot be electrified and, for those that can, the costs of retrofitting existing buildings and replacing appliances and machinery that rely on gas power are significant. In addition, the investments in generation and transmission infrastructure needed to electrify these homes and businesses far outweigh the costs of maintaining, improving and decarbonizing our existing gas network.

The costs of electric

For these reasons, the potential economic impacts of pursuing an electrification-only approach are daunting. The costs of retrofitting homes and apartments will likely increase already-high housing prices, with a disproportionate impact on historically disadvantaged communities. At the same time, rising electricity rates and expensive equipment conversions will increase the already-high cost of doing business in New York, potentially driving companies to relocate out of state.

A diversified approach

Even if we wanted to, we cannot electrify every building in New York with only renewable energy. The New York Independent System Operator 2022 Power Trends Report emphasizes that wind and solar cannot provide all the energy New Yorkers require and that the gap between the amount of energy New York needs and the amount renewable sources can supply will widen as we rely more on electricity.

The city’s Pathways to Carbon-Neutral NYC study, commissioned by the mayor’s Office of Sustainability, found that a high-electrification approach to meeting the goals of the climate leadersip-community protection act is not only more expensive than a diversified approach that incorporates fossil-free fuels, but it is also less effective, achieving a lower net reduction in emissions.

National Grid’s vision avoids these problems by incorporating fossil-free fuels as a complement to renewable electricity. Renewable natural gas is produced through a process that captures methane from landfills, farms, wastewater treatment plants and other sources and repurposes it as fossil-free fuel.

Because methane is one of the most potent and plentiful greenhouse gasses, removing it from the atmosphere is vital. Green hydrogen is another important fossil-free fuel produced by separating hydrogen out of the water molecule, leaving only water vapor behind.

Investing in fossil-free fuels as part of a diversified clean energy portfolio, instead of relying on a single solution, will allow us to meet the critical climate change mitigation goals set out in the climate leadership-community protection act without imposing unsustainable costs on New Yorkers and businesses.

Philip DeCicco is vice president and deputy general counsel of National Grid.

Another Voice: Aggressive climate measures in New York won’t make a dent

August 15, 2022

Michelle Hook | Jun 17, 2022

How much does it cost and what are we paying for? It’s the minimum level of transparency we expect our government to provide. But when it comes to New York’s climate law – the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, or CLCPA – Albany must do better.

Passed in 2019, the CLCPA calls for an aggressive reduction of carbon emissions, with a goal of reducing New York’s greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030 and 85% by 2050, from 1990 levels. 

The CLCPA does not mandate eliminating natural gas or banning fossil fuels. But that has become the focus of lawmakers, who insist it’s necessary to achieve the law’s goals. The problem is that a premature transition away from this heavily relied upon fuel source – nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers currently use natural gas – can cause reliability and cost issues. 

While there has been no discussion among elected officials about how New York intends to have all of this paid for, some state officials have voiced concerns. Public Service Commissioner John Howard said the cost to New Yorkers would be hundreds of billions of dollars, and that “the legislature, either through its silence or total lack of actions, has given this commission nearly the exclusive responsibility to reach into New Yorkers’ pockets to pay for the CLCPA mandates.”

State officials reacted first by dismissing Howard’s statement as both “incorrect and irresponsible” while also effectively confirming his estimate, saying inaction would be “more than $100 billion higher than the cost of investing in a clean energy future.”

This suggestion – that aggressive climate measures in New York will have a global impact that reduces severe weather damage by billions of dollars – has very questionable credibility.

If the plan Albany is pushing would actually stop the worst impacts of global climate change, New Yorkers might be willing to pay the price. But the CLCPA won’t make a dent. New York produces less than one half of 1% of all carbon emissions in the world. Even if we could snap our fingers and make it all disappear tomorrow, increasing emissions coming from the developing world – including China and India – would negate New York’s efforts in a matter of months.

Asked during a recent Assembly hearing about cost to New Yorkers versus results on global climate emissions, CLCPA member Robert Howarth responded that the international community is very excited about New York’s climate efforts. In other words, all of this cost and all of this work will – at best – have set a good precedent, but have no measurable impact.

The state is pushing forward with a plan that would cost billions of dollars while making virtually no impact on climate change. New Yorkers already struggling to pay their energy bills will be the ones feeling the pain. The very least we can ask of Albany is that they be honest with us while they do it.

Michelle Hook is the Executive Director for New Yorkers for Affordable Energy.

Editorial: New York journeying into darkness as statewide energy issues loom

May 5, 2022

Post Editorial Board | May 4, 2022

The state Department of Environmental Conservation needs to make the right call ona crucial liquefied-natural-gas project, or New Yorkers will be out in the cold. 


The DEC has until Friday to issue permits for two new LNG vaporizers at a National Grid facility in Brooklyn, to back up the plant’s main generating capacity during winter demand surges(and make its overall operation cleaner and more efficient).

If the DEC bows to green agitators, the plant will be unable to meet demand for the coldest days of upcoming winters. That means real suffering, and even deaths.(The catastrophic blackouts caused by a freak Texas blizzard in February 2021 killed as many as 750.) 

In other words, it’ll mark yet one more step on New York’s journey into darkness. 

That journey began with 2019’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, a piece of green insanity that will — if its roadmap is followed — lock in permanent energy pain across the Empire State while costing taxpayers more than $300 billion

In fact, a new report from the Empire Center pegs the energy deficits the CLCPA will cause at 10% by 2040, when the act says New York must go emissions-free. 

That’s what happens when legislators plan to sacrifice our state’s actual generating capacity for pie-eyed dreams about renewable energy, i.e. wind and solar (now accounting for less than 6% of our power). 

That same report shows that the CLCPA’s proposed solar and wind build-outs — assuming they happen in time — will generate less than a third of the energy needed to make up for the removal of other capacity even as consumption increases.   

In other words, large-scale energy scarcity. 

Today’s skyrocketing energy prices are just a hint of how utterly detached from reality the CLCPA really is. 

To really go green, New York needs to keep its existing conventional capacity alive while it builds more nuclear (and, sure, wind and solar, too). We also need to unleash fracking, as neighboring Pennsylvania has done, to reap energy and jobs gains. Cutting New York’s carbon emissions to zero will do little to combat climate change globally while inflicting massive pain here. Which shows, yet again, that green pols are more interested in political power than clean energy.

Op-Ed | Good energy policy protects good union jobs

May 5, 2022

Constance Bradley, President of TWU Local 101 | May 4, 2022

For years the State of New York has constrained natural gas supply to the City of New York under the misguided belief that the state’s nation-leading climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, CLCPA for short, required it. Advocates in 2019 opposed a new interstate pipeline that would have allowed for ample supply to New York City and Long Island. As a result, and to meet the needs of customers, members of TWU members answered the call and helped build a number of smaller infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions, referred to as the “Distributed Infrastructure Solution,” that addresses supply constraints in downstate New York. However, these solutions have faced their own permitting challenges, even though they were required to address the supply-demand gap that was created when the pipeline solution fell out of political favor and failed to receive the approvals necessary to build it.

One component of the Distributed Infrastructure Solution is National Grid’s air permit for its new vaporizers at the Greenpoint Energy Center is pending a decision by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The vaporizers are operated infrequently but are critical to the overall gas supply in the City, in fact, each of the last two winters the units operated for only two days. New, more efficient vaporizers would result in a decrease of the natural gas consumption from the facility’s current vaporizers and the new permit will be a downgrade from the current permit to roughly half of emissions that are allowed under the existing permit at that site.

The vaporizers are effectively a non-pipes solution that allows National Grid to serve peak demand without adding additional pipeline capacity or other less favored options, while at the same time pursuing a series of programs/projects in furtherance of net zero goals – and they enable to good paying union jobs of our members.

The New York State Public Service Commission noted the units would create “global warming potential savings” compared to meeting customer demand solely through reliance on additional pipeline capacity, and also found the vaporizers and other projects would not disproportionally impact disadvantaged communities.

National Grid and the NY Department of Public Service (DPS) Staff even engaged a consultant, PA Consulting, to conduct an independent review of National Grid’s plan. PA Consulting’s assessment corroborates National Grid’s gas constraint challenge; validates the need for additional capacity to service customers; and views the Distributed Infrastructure Solution as a “reasonable” solution, while acknowledging the risks to delivery (e.g., permitting, scaling up demand-side solutions quickly enough).

New Yorkers need DEC to approve these permits now to ensure people in NYC can safely and reliably heat their homes which has been vetted by independent reviews, the Public Service Commission and will not use more gas. Additionally, the effective technology will result in FEWER EMISSIONS. The deadline is fast approaching on May 6th. We don’t know why this is controversial.

Brooklyn, Queens. Burning Bright.

Constance Bradley is President of TWU Local 101 in Brooklyn. Members of TWU Local 101 work every day to ensure the safe and efficient delivery of natural gas in New York City.

Editorial — More input needed: State’s Climate Action Council must listen to concerns of critics

May 4, 2022

Livingston County News | May 4, 2022

New York has some very ambitious goals for its long-term energy usage.

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act passed in 2019 set the bar for green power. This law mandates that the state obtain at least 70% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. In addition, New York must achieve zero-emission energy by 2040 and lower its greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050 from 1990 levels.

It’s good that officials are thinking big when it comes to addressing climate change. We all need to take this issue more seriously and help reduce our carbon footprint.

But the state’s desire for major changes may not be matched the resources necessary to achieve them. People attending a forum in Buffalo last week debated the merits of various proposals with the Climate Action Council, which will create a scoping plan so the state can pursue its benchmarks.

“The drafters of a new scoping plan that will guide how New York state reduces carbon emissions over the next three decades heard last week from area environmental groups who urged them to act quickly, and from labor, utility companies and business groups who warned them against proceeding too fast. While Ellen Banks of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter said it was ‘time to move on’ from combustibles that contribute to an ‘increasingly dire’ climate crisis, Joe Benedict of the Western New York Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors argued that some sweeping changes proposed under the scoping plan would cost residents thousands of dollars to transition their homes away from natural gas heating and cooking,” according to a Buffalo News story published Sunday by the Watertown Daily Times. “While Rahwa Ghirmatzion of PUSH Buffalo pleaded for governmental leaders to have the political will to abandon ‘false solutions’ to addressing climate change and instead focus on advancing renewables such as solar, geothermal and wind energy, Grant Loomis of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership said removing natural gas from the state’s portfolio would create grid ‘reliability concerns.’

“And so it went for more than three hours [April 27] inside the auditorium of the main branch of the Buffalo & Erie County Library, with speaker after speaker, nearly 100 in all, arguing for and against elements of the state Climate Action Council’s draft scoping plan,” the article reported. “Council members are gathering public input on the plan, which proposes dramatic changes in the way New Yorkers heat their homes, cook their meals and drive to their jobs. The council will deliver a final plan to Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state Legislature by the end of the year.”

State authorities have already put some very unrealistic ideas into motion.

Starting next year, new buildings will only be allowed to use electricity to power them (no gas lines may be connected). This is simply not feasible for the north country.

In addition, New York will ban the sale of vehicles powered by fossil fuels by 2035, a plan likely to fail. Will people comply with this law or continue to buy gas-powered vehicles (either used cars or new vehicles from other states)? And what does this mean for existing gas stations, which must accommodate gas-powered vehicles?

Officials must be more practical in their approach. There’s no way that New York will achieve its goals relying on solar and wind power. Nuclear energy and hydro-electricity must be more a part of the equation.

As the Climate Action Council receives input, members must take their concerns to heart. We won’t address climate change unless we have sensible measures to put into effect.