News

Statement from NYAE on Northern Access Pipeline Court Decision

March 25, 2021

A federal court has ruled against the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and upheld a federal decision in favor of National Fuel’s long-delayed Northern Access Pipeline’s $500 million natural gas project through Western New York.

New Yorkers for Affordable Energy released this statement in reaction to the court’s decision:    “The high court’s Northern Access decision helps to clear the way for communities across Western New York to reap the economic benefits that come with this $500 million dollar investment in New York’s energy infrastructure. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation clearly exceeded its authority when it delayed a decision to grant the proper permits for the project. This ruling sends a clear message that no state agency is above the law, and politics has no part in functional government.

“The Northern Access Pipeline will inject some much-needed money into the communities of Western New York, including nearly 1,700 jobs, all while adding essential energy infrastructure. Clearing this significant hurdle is a win, not just for the project itself, but for all consumers.”

Buffalo and Niagara County Building & Construction Trades Council also released a statement: “Organized labor is extremely pleased with the court’s decision on Northern Access as the project will result in good paying jobs for union construction trades workers across Western New York. Organized labor strongly supports reducing America’s dependency on foreign energy sources and the construction of infrastructure that safely and reliably delivers clean and reliable energy.  Northern Access will do just that and in turn will help our members who have been significantly impacted by a slowdown of construction work due to the pandemic.”

About New Yorkers for Affordable Energy: 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 increase access to natural gas for manufacturing facilities, power production, transportation, and to serve as a catalyst for job growth and support New York’s economy and quality of life.

About the Buffalo and Niagara County Building & Construction Trades Council: The Buffalo Building & Construction Trades Council plays a major role in improving the quality of life of not only our members, but the entire WNY community. By ensuring decent wages and benefits for our members, they may provide for themselves and their families, so that we may all take pride in being united by the common goal of a future we can all be proud of.

Letter to Climate Action Council Housing and Energy Efficiency Panel Regarding Gas Ban Recommendations

February 19, 2021

Click here to read the full letter to the CAC

POLL: 92% OF NEW YORK VOTERS SAY ENERGY COSTS & RELIABILITY ARE TOP CONCERN

February 10, 2021

Nearly Two-Thirds of Respondents Say Electric Bills Are Already Too High &
84% of New Yorkers Support Use of Natural Gas

New York voters overwhelmingly say cost and keeping the lights are the most important energy issues to them right now. That’s the finding of a recent survey of likely voters in New York State by the polling group Cygnal, commissioned by the New Yorkers for Affordable Energy Coalition, which found 92 percent of likely voters say low-cost energy and reliable electricity are top energy concerns. (View Polling Presentation here)

The survey of 700 likely New York voters had a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percent. Data was collected statewide, with a heavier focus on the downstate population centers, 65 percent, residing in the New York City region, 19 percent from Central/Eastern New York, and 17 percent from the Western part of the state. (View Polling Toplines here)

“The results of this survey do highlight the need for a pragmatic approach to our transitioning energy grid in New York, and that includes consideration of the things most important to New Yorkers, like cost and maintaining system reliability.” Executive Director and spokesperson for the New Yorkers for Affordable Energy Coalition Michelle Hook explained. “Environmental Justice issues are extremely important. As we seek to improve our air, we cannot forget that, and now empirical evidence clearly shows, there needs to be an economic justice component to any future energy plan.”

“As New Yorkers continue to grapple with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, they want their electricity to be affordable and reliable – our economic and remote working and learning circumstances demand it. The results of this survey further affirm the importance of minimizing the burden on consumers as we develop our roadmap for decarbonization,” said Gavin Donohue, President and CEO of the Independent Power Producers of New York. “Meeting our shared climate goals is critical, but we can’t do it at the expense of New Yorkers who have already had to sacrifice for nearly a year.”

“The economic impact of the pandemic, and heighted concerns about New York’s economic competitiveness, put a spotlight on the need to move forward carefully on the state’s carbon reduction agenda,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., President and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. “As businesses continue to work with the Climate Action Council, we have also called for research on future energy costs and its impact on businesses and jobs. We support carbon reduction and expanded renewables, but the state’s economy also needs affordable, reliable power and gas during the transition.”

The poll also asked New Yorkers’ to rank their top priorities for the State. Jobs and the economy were by far the top priority with 47 percent of respondents saying that was the most important issue. Affordable healthcare and lowering taxes also ranked in the top three highest priorities for New York residents.

Another key finding is that most New Yorkers support natural gas projects in the state. Before any additional information about natural gas was shared with participants, more than 50 percent say they support gas projects. When data was analyzed at the demographic level, the survey found that only 20 percent of self-identified liberals are opposed to natural gas projects. Similarly, only 27 percent believe New York should not allow companies to invest in natural gas infrastructure. The majority of participants, 64 percent, also believe labor protections should be required for all energy development projects. This was especially true for black respondents and those age 35 to 49.

New York State Building Trades President Gary LaBarbera said, “New Yorkers believe prevailing wage and other labor protections are a valuable part of our State’s development projects. Add to that the importance state residents currently place on the economy, jobs and low-cost natural gas, and the path forward is clear: New York must allow natural gas upgrade projects to create jobs, cleaner air, and low-cost energy.”

About New Yorkers for Affordable Energy
New Yorkers for Affordable Energy is a coalition of community, labor and business leaders from across the state who support efforts to expand access to natural gas for consumers and businesses. Community, labor and business leaders from across the state understand the important role that natural gas plays as a catalyst for job growth. As demand for energy continues to grow, natural gas is becoming increasingly important for New York consumers and businesses. 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. For more information, visit our website at http://www.NY4affordableenergy.com.

ABOUT THE POLLING FIRM: Cygnal is an award-winning national public opinion and predictive analytics firm that pioneered multi-mode polling, peer-to-peer text collection, and Political Emotive Analysis. Cygnal was named the #1 most accurate polling and research firm in the country for 2018 by The New York Times. Its team members have worked in 47 states and countries on more than 1,500 corporate, public affairs, and political campaigns.

New Yorkers for Affordable Energy Sign Letter to Climate Action Council Requesting Cost Study for CLCPA

January 26, 2021

Unions, businesses, industry groups, and community organizations sign on to a joint letter to the CAC asking for a financial analysis of the impacts of the Community Leadership and Climate Protection Act.

NYAE Sends Letter to Governor Cuomo Opposing Utility Reform Act

January 26, 2021

NYAE members sent a letter detailing the reasons the Utility Reform Act would eliminate objectivity and dur process from the current utility regulations at the Public Service Commission

Statement from New Yorkers for Affordable Energy on the Recent Spate of Blackouts in California

September 14, 2020

“The recent spate of blackouts in California should alarm every New York State resident, taxpayer, and our governing class.

Like New York, California has been claiming to lead the way towards a clean energy future, but in their zeal to get there, they have made policy decisions that are detrimental to the residents of their state.

When the Mayor of the second largest city in America has to encourage his residents to turn off and unplug all major appliances, set thermostats to 78 degrees, and use a fan instead of air conditioning during the middle of a heat wave and a pandemic, it should serve as a wake up call that something is fundamentally wrong and will only get worse if we continue on our current path.

A recent blog post by Cheryl Lafleur, the former Chairwoman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), highlighted some of the critical issues plaguing California and made critical recommendations about how to fix it.

The simple truth is, New York is headed for the same fate without a serious change in direction.

Some food for thought:

  • New York’s energy generation and distribution system is complex and involves dozens of state and federal regulatory agencies, creating bureaucratic malaise and making it difficult for energy projects to get approved.
  • The further New York moves to intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar, the more vital it is to have natural gas power plants online and available to cycle up as quickly as the wind stops blowing or the sun goes behind a cloud. In other words, we need dispatchable energy available at any given moment to address the market demand, especially when renewable energy is not available, or in the event of a “black start” situation, to help the energy grid recover in the event of a total or partial shutdown.
  • With the shut down of Indian Point in 2021, the rejection of new natural gas pipelines or power plants, and the lack of large scale renewable projects in the Hudson Valley and Long Island, New York is creating a basic supply and demand problem. It’s why Con-Ed and National Grid both proposed moratoriums on new natural gas hookups.

While the answer may not be politically acceptable to activists and some of our governing class, it is a simple one: natural gas is a reliable partner in the move towards a clean energy future and must be part of the conversation and planning.

If not, New York will soon face the harsh reality that is leaving California in the dark.”

Statement from New Yorkers for Affordable Energy on the Climate Action Council’s Formation of Advisory Panels and Working Groups

September 9, 2020

“Last month, the Climate Action Council announced the formation of six advisory panels and two working groups to help determine a range of emission reductions within each sector to help meet the statewide emission reduction goals, as set by the CLCPA.

What is troubling about these panels and working groups is that they include a very minimal to no representation from the sectors of the energy industry that provide the majority of New York’s power. Whether by design or mistake, this oversight does not help further our shared goal of a clean energy future.

With nearly 60% of New Yorkers relying on natural gas and oil for their energy needs and natural gas accounting for 57% more reductions in carbon emissions over the last 15 years, representatives from these sectors have key insights that can help New York reach its emissions goals, in a way that others may not.

We strongly encourage the Climate Action Council to reconsider their decision and ensure that representatives from the entire energy industry have a seat at the table. It’s an more affirmative way to ensure informed decisions on the best path forward.”

Letter to New York State Public Service Commission Re: Large Scale Renewable Program

August 27, 2020

VIA ELECTRONIC FILING
Hon. Michelle M. Phillips, Secretary
New York State Public Service Commission
Three Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12223-1350

RE: Case 15-E-0302 – Proceeding on Motion of the Commission to Implement a Large-Scale Renewable Program and a Clean Energy Standard

Dear Secretary Phillips,

On behalf of New Yorkers for Affordable Energy (NYAE), a coalition of community, labor and business leaders from across the state who support efforts to take an “all of the above” approach to the State’s energy policy, I write to you regarding the proceeding to implement a Large-Scale Renewable Program and a Clean Energy Standard, and more specifically about the need to implement a full life-cycle analysis (LCA) of renewable energy sources.

It is absolutely essential to evaluate the upstream emissions/life cycle of our renewable energy sources, from the manufacturing site (many of which are produced in China using coal powered plants) to the final retirement of each solar panel and wind turbine. To apply a less rigorous emissions analysis to renewable power generators than the standard applied to more traditional power generators is misleading and prejudicial, and will lead to results contrary to New York’s stated environmental objectives.

There must be an equal examination of the impacts of technologies that our government has deemed “clean.” The natural gas industry, which has enabled dramatic drops in emissions in the United States, is asking only to be on equal footing. There is clear evidence of adverse environmental impacts of wind and solar and to ignore this is not sound government policy.

Recent studies show that solar panels have become one of the leading emitters of hexafluoroethane (C2F6), nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) these harmful greenhouse gases are 12,000, 17,000 and 23,000 times more threatening respectively than carbon dioxide. Because of the rapidly growing solar photovoltaic industry, scientists have documented NF3 levels rising by 11 percent a year and exponential increases in SF6 in our atmosphere, according to the NOAA and a recent report from the Geophysical Research Letters.

A recent report by the Manhattan Institute highlights the significant environmental impacts of producing “clean technologies,” such as wind, solar, and electric cars and raises alarming questions. More to the point, as the study highlights, “Building wind turbines and solar panels to generate electricity, as well as batteries to fuel electric vehicles, requires, on average, more than 10 times the quantity of materials, compared with building machines using hydro-carbons to deliver the same amount of energy to society.”

We must also examine the impact of producing this “green technology” and what becomes of these technologies when they have reached the end of their useful life. Energy waste is a valid concern, as solar panels and wind turbines created in the early 2000s will soon end up in landfills around New York.

To be clear, we are not suggesting that New York abandon its efforts to grow its renewable portfolio. However, there must be an honest and factual assessment of the environmental impacts of all of our state’s energy resources to ensure our grid consists of the least environmentally impactful options available.

We respectfully ask the Public Service Commission (PSC) to implement, as part of these proceedings, a full life-cycle analysis, as has been insisted upon with other sources of energy, such as natural gas, to ensure that we truly protect our environment while meeting the energy needs of New Yorkers.

Sincerely,

Michael Lawler
Director, New Yorkers for Affordable Energy

About New Yorkers for Affordable Energy

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 increase access to natural gas for manufacturing facilities, power production, transportation, and to serve as a catalyst for job growth and support New York’s economy and quality of life.

Coalition Members

The Business Council of New York State, Inc.
New York State Building & Construction Trades Council
Acoustic Clean Dennis
AGC NYS
Albany Valve & Fitting Co. Inc.
Ambient Environmental, Inc.
API
BlueRock Energy
Buffalo Niagara Partnership
Capital Region Chamber of Commerce
Central Hudson
Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce
Chemung County Chamber of Commerce
Constitution Pipeline
Cortland County Chamber of Commerce
D.A. Collins
Danskammer Energy
Delaware Engineering
Dominion Energy
Eastern NY District Council of Laborers
Enbridge
Energy Coalition New York
Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance
EnergyMark, LLC
Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative (ELEC 825)

General Contractors Association of NY
Hudson Valley Building & Construction Trades Council
Independent Oil & Gas Association of NY (IOGA-NY)
Independent Power Producers of NY (IPPNY)
International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825 (IOUE 825)
Iroquois
IUOE Local 825
Joint Landowners Coalition
Laborers District Council of Eastern NY
Laborers Local 17 LECET Fund
Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier
Millennium Pipeline
National Fuel Gas Company
National Federation of Independent Business
North Country Chamber of Commerce
NYS Building & Construction Trades Council
NYS Conference of the International Union of Operating Engineers
NYS Economic Development Council
NYS LECET Fund (Laborers-Employers Cooperation & Education Trust)
NYS Pipe Trades Association
Orange County Partnership
Otsego County IDA
Penn-York Land Services Corp.
Unshackle Upstate
Upstate New York Laborers District Council
U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy
USA Compression
The Williams Companies

To plan NY’s energy future, we need reliability, accessibility and affordability

August 26, 2020

The Journal News

By Michael Lawler
Special to the USA Today Network

The state Public Service Commission (PSC) is in the final stages of its proceedings on “Gas Planning Procedures” and is due to release recommendations by the end of the month on how to regulate the natural gas planning process for New York’s gas utilities, in a manner consistent with the recently passed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA).

Sadly, many activists and environmental groups, including the National Resource Defense Council, have sought to use these proceedings to advocate regulating the natural gas industry into extinction rather than plan how to encourage changes that would allow New York to explore meaningful ways to lower greenhouse gas emissions in the gas sector and take advantage of the affordable and existing resources.

The basic thrust of their argument is that in order to meet climate targets and reach net zero emissions by 2050, gas use must decline. This is contrary to reality and discounts the tremendous reduction in carbon emissions that have been made over the last two decades because of natural gas.

According to the Western Energy Alliance, natural gas “is the number one reason the United States has reduced greenhouse gas emissions more than any other country.” The shift from dirtier-burning fuels like coal to natural gas has produced 57% more carbon-emission reductions than have all the renewable energy sources that have come online since 2005, EIA data shows.

Working with the PSC and numerous other agencies, the industry continues to make strides in efficiency and emissions reduction through avenues such as renewable natural gas, power-to-gas installations to supply hydrogen/low-carbon fuels using existing gas infrastructure, enhanced energy efficiencies, hybrid electric air source heat pumps coupled with high efficiency natural gas furnaces as well as carbon capture, use and storage technologies.

However, the simple fact is that New Yorkers rely on natural gas as an affordable and reliable source of energy. As many as 60% of New York households heat with natural gas, and 40% of our electricity comes from power plants that run on natural gas, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Simply put, whether New Yorkers heat their homes in the winter or power their air conditioners in the summer, natural gas is fueling their everyday lives.

So as the PSC finalizes its recommendations, it’s critical that they keep three important words in mind: reliability, accessibility, and affordability.

Today only 30% of New York’s electricity comes from renewables. Getting from 30 to 100% zero-emission by 2040 just for the energy we presently consume is a massive and incredibly expensive undertaking that will use enormous amounts of land, carrying its own environmental impacts that could be minimized by using existing gas infrastructure in concert with our electric grid.

With the Indian Point nuclear unit shutting down by 2021, New York will need even more natural gas for power plants to fill the gap. Furthermore, the more New York moves to intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar, the more vital it will be to have natural gas power plants online and available to cycle up as quickly as the wind stops blowing or the sun goes behind a cloud.

In other words, we need dispatchable energy available at any given moment to address the market demand, especially when renewable energy is not available, or in the event of a “black start” situation, to help the energy grid recover in the event of a total or partial shutdown.

If there is anything the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it is that we need reliable, affordable energy to help power emergency operations for hospitals, grocery stores and millions of New Yorkers working from home in a time of crisis. If natural gas was not available to us during this pandemic, I shudder to think how our state would have functioned under those conditions. 

Likewise, restricting the use of natural gas in favor of more expensive options during New York’s efforts to rebuild its economy will further burden the homeowners and businesses that can ill afford these costs. The truth is, natural gas is the only source of energy that can fully, reliably and affordably meet the needs of New Yorkers.

What the NRDC and others fail to address, as is often the case with the push for the total elimination of natural gas, is cost and affordability:

  • For instance, what is the social and financial cost associated with the move to 100% renewable energy and how are we, as a state and individual taxpayers, going to pay for it?
  • What is the direct cost for each homeowner to convert their natural gas home heating system and their natural gas ovens and stovetops to electric?
  • How would the loss of natural gas impact communities across our state, especially low-income communities?
  • How would the elimination of natural gas impact the cost of new construction, especially as it relates to affordable housing?

These are important questions that require thoughtful consideration by the PSC and our elected officials as they seek to meet New York’s ambitious climate goals and make policy decisions based on the reality of where we are today and how best to get where we want to go.

My organization, New Yorkers for Affordable Energy, is in agreement with the governor and the state Legislature about the need for a clean energy future, but we must take into account reliability, accessibility, and affordability when making these decisions.

In other words, let science guide our decision-making process — not politics.

Michael Lawler is the director of New Yorkers for Affordable Energy.

Letter to New York State Public Service Commission Re: NRDC Report

August 6, 2020

VIA ELECTRONIC FILING
Hon. Michelle M. Phillips, Secretary
New York State Public Service Commission
Three Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12223-1350

Re: Matter 20-00652/Case 20-G-0131 – Proceeding on Motion of the Commission in Regard to Gas Planning Procedures.

Dear Secretary Phillips,

On behalf of New Yorkers for Affordable Energy (NYAE), a coalition of community, labor and business leaders from across the state who support efforts to expand access to natural gas for consumers and businesses, I write to you in response to the June 29, 2020 report by Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., submitted to the New York State Public Service Commissioner (PSC). The report, commissioned by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), was submitted to be part of the record for the PSC’s proceedings on Gas Planning Procedures.

After reading through the report, it is clear that Synapse and the NRDC advocate regulating the natural gas industry into extinction rather than plan how to encourage changes that would allow New York to explore meaningful ways to lower greenhouse gas emissions in the gas sector and take advantage of the affordable and existing resources.

The entire premise of their report is based on the false notions that the natural gas industry is operating without strong oversight; that the PSC has not been doing its job when it comes to reforming gas utility regulations and ensuring that the gas planning process is in line with the recently enacted Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA); and that existing and new natural gas infrastructure and facilities are at risk of becoming stranded by 2050, thereby creating financial hardship for companies, investors, and customers.

Furthermore, the basic thrust of their report is that in order to meet climate targets and reach net zero emissions by 2050, gas use must decline. This is contrary to reality and discounts the tremendous reduction in carbon emissions that have been made over the last two decades because of natural gas, and the future emission reductions possible through avenues such as renewable natural gas, power-to-gas installations to supply hydrogen/low-carbon fuels using existing gas infrastructure, enhanced energy efficiencies, hybrid electric air source heat pumps coupled with high efficiency natural gas furnaces as well as carbon capture, use and storage technologies.

The truth:

  • The natural gas industry is heavily regulated by numerous agencies, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the New York State Public Service Commission (NYSPSC), and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. In addition, the industry works closely with the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA), the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), and the New York Power Authority.
  • The industry has worked closely with the Governor, the Attorney General, and the State Legislature to address many of the concerns and issues that have been raised and will continue to do so.
  • The gas utilities have a strong working relationship with the PSC and NYSERDA to address many climate related issues, including implementing numerous programs as mentioned above to lower the carbon footprint of utilities, including energy efficiency incentives and rebates.
  • Existing and new natural gas infrastructure and facilities are necessary to continue to meet the needs of New Yorkers.
  • Moratoriums on new gas hookups will likely occur if the construction of new pipelines or the expansion or replacement of existing pipelines is not possible.
  • New and existing natural gas facilities can remain useful well into the future by taking methane from landfills, sewage plants, and farms and producing renewable natural gas and by operating in concert with intermittent energy sources.

The reality:

According to the Western Energy Alliance, natural gas “is the number one reason the United States has reduced greenhouse gas emissions more than any other country.” The shift from dirtier-burning fuels like coal to natural gas has produced 57 percent more carbon-emission reductions than have all the renewable energy sources that have come online since 2005, EIA data shows. And the industry continues to make strides in efficiency and emissions reduction.

The simple fact is that New Yorkers rely on natural gas as an affordable and reliable source of energy. Sixty percent of New York households heat with natural gas, and forty percent of our electricity comes from power plants that run on natural gas, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. So, whether New Yorkers heat their homes in the winter or power their air conditioners in the summer, natural gas is fueling their everyday lives.

Now bear in mind, today only 30 percent of New York’s electricity comes from renewables. And 25 of that 30 percent is from hydroelectric dams. Getting from 30 to 100 percent zero emission by 2040 just for the energy we presently consume is a massive and incredibly expensive undertaking that will use enormous amounts of land, carrying its own environmental impacts that could be minimized by using existing gas infrastructure in concert with our electric grid.

With the Indian Point nuclear unit shutting down by 2021, New York will need even more natural gas for power plants to fill the gap. Furthermore, the more New York moves to intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar, the more vital it will be to have natural gas power plants online and available to cycle up as quickly as the wind stops blowing or the sun goes behind a cloud.

In other words, we need dispatchable energy available at any given moment to address the market demand, especially when renewable energy is not available, or in the event of a “black start” situation, to help the energy grid recover in the event of a total or partial shutdown. As the recent Brattle Group Report indicated, by 2040, New York will need up to 15 GW of dispatchable power available to ensure a fully functioning energy grid.

Additionally, a recent report by NYSERDA pointed out that as we move towards electric vehicles and electrification of the grid, demand will increase from 23,948 MW to over 33,000 MW by 2040.

If there is anything the COVID-19 Pandemic has taught us, it is that we need reliable, affordable energy to help power emergency operations for hospitals, grocery stores and millions of New Yorkers working from home in a time of crisis. If natural gas was not available to us during this pandemic, I shudder to think how our state would have functioned under those conditions.  Likewise, restricting the use of natural gas in favor of more expensive options during New York’s efforts to rebuild its economy will further burden the homeowners and businesses that can ill afford these costs.

The truth is, natural gas is the only source of energy that can fully and reliably meet the needs of New Yorkers – and do so without increasing energy costs to homeowners and businesses or increasing the cost of new construction to alleviate New York’s affordable housing problem.

And while we are in agreement with the Governor and the State Legislature about the need to have a clean energy future, we must take into account cost and affordability when making these decisions. Just this past week, Governor Cuomo delayed the “Reclaiming Mother Nature Bond Act” precisely because of our current financial situation and its cost.

What the NRDC commissioned report fails to address, as is often the case with the push for the elimination of natural gas, is cost and affordability. The report also ignores the fact that the natural gas industry has worked to reduce emissions and never explores  the possibility for further emission reductions using our existing gas infrastructure through approaches such as enhanced energy efficiency,  renewable natural gas, power-to-gas installation, hybrid ASHP electric/gas heating solutions and carbon capture, use and storage technologies.

What is the social and financial cost associated with the move to 100% renewable energy and how are we, as a state and individual taxpayers, going to pay for it?

What is the direct cost for each homeowner to convert their natural gas home heating system and their natural gas ovens and stovetops to electric?

What is the cost to the taxpayers and consumers to eliminate natural gas from our energy portfolio over the next 19 years?

How would the loss of natural gas impact communities across our state, especially low-income communities?

How would the elimination of natural gas impact the cost of new construction, especially as relates to affordable housing?

How would the elimination of natural gas impact the environment given the massive required buildout of renewable power generation in NY, such as wind and solar installations, as well as the new electric transmission and distribution facilities associated with moving such electric?

These are legitimate questions that New York taxpayers and homeowners have and require detailed answers to ensure we are making informed public policy decisions.

We urge the PSC when considering the future planning of natural gas to take these facts and concerns into consideration and to make decisions based on the reality of where we are today and how best to get where we want to go.

When the PSC does release its findings, we hope those findings will keep three important words in mind: reliability, accessibility, and affordability.

Sincerely,

Michael Lawler
Director, New Yorkers for Affordable Energy

About New Yorkers for Affordable Energy

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 increase access to natural gas for manufacturing facilities, power production, transportation, and to serve as a catalyst for job growth and support New York’s economy and quality of life.

Coalition Members

The Business Council of New York State, Inc.
New York State Building & Construction Trades Council
Acoustic Clean Dennis
AGC NYS
Albany Valve & Fitting Co. Inc.
Ambient Environmental, Inc.
API
BlueRock Energy
Buffalo Niagara Partnership
Capital Region Chamber of Commerce
Central Hudson
Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce
Chemung County Chamber of Commerce
Constitution Pipeline
Cortland County Chamber of Commerce
D.A. Collins
Danskammer Energy
Delaware Engineering
Dominion Energy
Eastern NY District Council of Laborers
Enbridge
Energy Coalition New York
Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance
EnergyMark, LLC
Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative (ELEC 825)
General Contractors Association of NY
Hudson Valley Building & Construction Trades Council
Independent Oil & Gas Association of NY (IOGA-NY)
Independent Power Producers of NY (IPPNY)
International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825 (IOUE 825)
Iroquois
IUOE Local 825
Joint Landowners Coalition
Laborers District Council of Eastern NY
Laborers Local 17 LECET Fund
Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier
Millennium Pipeline
National Fuel Gas Company
National Federation of Independent Business
North Country Chamber of Commerce
NYS Building & Construction Trades Council
NYS Conference of the International Union of Operating Engineers
NYS Economic Development Council
NYS LECET Fund (Laborers-Employers Cooperation & Education Trust)
NYS Pipe Trades Association
Orange County Partnership
Otsego County IDA
Penn-York Land Services Corp.
Unshackle Upstate
Upstate New York Laborers District Council
U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy
USA Compression
The Williams Companies