Out of Gas: New York's Blocked Pipelines Will Hurt Northeast Consumers

Summary of Study

Bottom Line: State governments and regulators have essentially a veto over the construction of new pipelines. Federal law must adapt to put reasonable limits on states’ ability to delay or deny energy infrastructure projects. New York regulators have blocked new pipelines, causing higher energy prices and, ironically, worse environmental outcomes.

Homeowners and businesses in northeastern states face natural gas shortages, plus rising electricity and gas prices, thanks largely to repeated efforts by New York regulators to delay or deny the approvals necessary to build new pipelines. There are moratoriums on new gas hookups in dozens of communities in New York and Massachusetts, and these moratoriums will last for years to come.

Yet New York needs pipelines to continue switching buildings in the residential and commercial sector away from fuel oil to cleaner-burning natural gas. The state will also need more gas to replace the electricity being generated by the Indian Point nuclear plant after it is shut down over the next few years. It will also need more natural gas-generated electricity to counter the intermittency of renewables like solar and wind that are being added to the state’s grid.

Ironically, the constraints on natural gas supplies in New York and New England result in more pollution and higher carbon-dioxide emissions from burning oil. Restrictions are claimed to be necessary to protect the environment from harm, but this position will likely result in increased use of heating fuel oil, which means increased air pollution and carbon-dioxide emissions. New York and the New England states already have some of the highest residential gas and electricity rates in the country.

U.S. natural gas production has doubled since 2005 and is being exported across the entire world. Yet the economic benefits of the shale revolution have largely bypassed New York, even though part of the Marcellus Shale, one of the biggest and most prolific sources of natural gas in the country, extends into New York’s Southern Tier

Over the past two decades, state certification for pipeline projects has been fairly routine. But over the past three years, four states—Washington, Oregon, New Jersey, and New York—have used Section 401 to block energy projects. Federal law to preempt these state actions is necessary to extend the shale revolution to residents in these states.

Read the full study here

Feature Charticle

Westchester County Areas Affected by Con Ed’s Gas Hookup Moratorium

Manhattan Institute

Findings: 

  • Homeowners and businesses in northeastern states face natural gas shortages, plus rising electricity and gas prices, thanks largely to repeated efforts by New York regulators to delay or deny the approvals necessary to build new pipelines.
  • There are moratoriums on new gas hookups in dozens of communities in New York and Massachusetts, and these moratoriums will last for years to come. 
  • In addition to energy shortages, natural gas moratoriums ironically result in more pollution and higher carbon-dioxide emissions from burning oil.
  • Federal law must adapt to put reasonable limits on states’ ability to delay or deny energy infrastructure projects.

Read the full study here