‘There have to be alternatives to the pipeline, and then present those alternatives to New Yorkers…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent a letter to the president and CEO of National Grid, an electricity and gas utility company, telling them the state will revoke the company’s license to operate unless it completes “meaningful and immediate remedial actions.”
The letter comes during a standoff between Cuomo and National Grid over the expansion of natural gas supply.
In May, National Grid placed a moratorium on new natural gas service, warning that a natural gas shortage could occur this winter unless a new pipeline is built to expand natural gas capacity, Long Island Business News reported.
Cuomo opposes the expansion because he believes Natural Grid wants to use natural gas to pad their bottom line.
“They want a pipeline. They want a 15 year contract to have a pipeline. Why? Because they’re in the gas business, so the pipeline would secure their business. That’s my opinion,” Cuomo said during an interview with NY1 host Kristen Shaughnessy.
“We’re moving to renewables. We’re doing wind power, solar power, et cetera. They want to stay in the gas business, and what they’re basically saying is, ‘If I don’t get my pipeline, I’m turning off the gas.'”
Natural Grid and its supporters say that Cuomo himself caused the moratorium by blocking pipeline expansions.
National Grid said that the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project, a $1 billion pipeline expansion, would solve the natural gas shortages by increasing natural gas capacity to the affected regions by 14 percent.
National Grid said the moratorium helps ensure that a shortage will not affect power supplies to existing customers, while Cuomo said the moratorium is either a “fabricated device” or the result of a “lack of competence.”
He said Natural Grid has multiple “short-term options” for gas supply that they could pursue, including trucking and shipping gas into New York, “which National Grid either deliberately, negligently or incompetently did not secure.”
Cuomo described the pipeline as a “risky” and “speculative” project.
“To say, well, we were hoping to get this pipeline and we really want a pipeline. And even though it could be stopped by other states and it could take a long time to build, that was our only plan,” Cuomo said on NY1. “I think that was irresponsible and reckless.”
The pipeline would run through Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, so Natural Grid would have to traverse multiple licensing approvals and potential lawsuits.
Cuomo has demanded that National Grid provide alternatives to the pipeline project, but it is not clear that any renewable energy sources or alternative methods could meet New York’s massive energy needs.
“And there have to be alternatives to the pipeline, and then present those alternatives to New Yorkers,” Cuomo said.
“Say, ‘Look, either we build the pipeline, which a lot of environmentalists oppose, or we have to bring in trucks, we have to bring in barges, we have to build a new liquefied natural gas facility,'” he continued. “Give us the alternatives, but don’t say to the people of this state, ‘Either it’s my way or the highway. Either it’s my way or I turn off your gas.'”
Under New York’s Public Service Law, Cuomo has the power to determine whether the utility company provides “adequate and reliable service” and operates “in the public interest.”
In the letter, Cuomo wrote that the moratorium and a previous shutoff in which 1,100 households lost power, demonstrates National Grid’s inability to provide “adequate and reliable service.”