When a state law is passed, it’s the job of state regulators to enforce it. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), which became law in 2019, commits New York State to net zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Its targets are that 70 percent of the state’s electricity must come from renewable sources by 2030, and 100 percent must be generated carbon-free by 2040. The CLCPA also recognizes methane as a GHG and considers the full life cycle of our power system, including fracking and transmission. That means: stop making the problem worse by continuing to build fracked gas infrastructure.
But National Grid proposes to spend ratepayers’ money on a gas pipeline and liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Brooklyn, and compressor stations along the “Iroquois” pipeline. Will Gov. Cuomo and the Public Service Commission let them get away with it? Their decision is expected on June 11. Once the damage is done and corporations are finally forced to stop destroying our life support systems, those fracked gas pipelines and LNG facilities will become stranded assets, which we ratepayers will be paying for years after we have stopped using them. National Grid provides both gas and electricity to New York State and elsewhere; there is a business case for the company to pivot to providing electricity from renewable sources.
National Grid needs a new plan for New York – one that replaces fossil fuel with expanded energy efficiency, heat pumps, solar and offshore wind energy, and the economic boost all this would bring. The company has even admitted that it had such a plan, the “No Gas Infrastructure” option, to meet demand. That is what a public utility should be doing. And that is what Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state regulators should require.
The writer is a Nanuet resident and former teacher and volunteer member of Sierra Club’s Lower Hudson Group. She co-chairs the state-level Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter’s Legislative Committee.