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October 25, 2012

Governor Cuomo's Energy "Blueprint" Omits Hydraulic Fracturing

October 25, 2012
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Earlier this week, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo released the Energy Highway Task Force’s Blueprint, detailing his vision for the state’s energy future. Many of the problems with the plan are immediately obvious.  The plan is overly vague and while it seeks to pump as much as 250 million taxpayer dollars into “green energy”, it makes no mention of the Indian Point Power Station, the plant Mr. Coumo has vowed to close. Not only did Cuomo omit anything about Indian Point, but his plan also fails to mention hydraulic fracturing or natural gas drilling. These omissions reveal that Governor’s recent energy manifesto is more about publicity and politics than tackling the real energy issues of the day. In the process, the plan forsakes a promising future for job creation in the Empire State, where unemployment continues above the national average.

Gov. Cuomo’s plan includes :

  • Building over 1,000 mw of capacity, including the construction of wind farms
  • Developing Reliability Contingency Plans for potential power plant retirements in cases that could impact the reliability of the system.
  • Supporting flexibility in contracting for public power authorities, to facilitate public – private partnerships
  • Advancing up to $800 million of investments in electric generation, transmission
  • Advancing up to $500 million of investments in natural gas distribution to reduce costs to customers and enhance reliability, safety, and emission reductions
  • Supporting flexibility in contracting for public power authorities, to facilitate public-private partnerships
  • Executing new contracts for up to $250 million within the next year to leverage an additional $425 million in private-sector investment to build up to 270 mw
  • Building up to $35 million worth of strategic transmission upgrades to remove a potential impediment to additional renewable energy development in Northern New York.
  • Advancing up to $800 million of investments in electric generation, transmission

The plan is strangely silent on natural gas production. This is especially true given that New York overlies the Marcellus shale and a recently-release report argues that the Marcellus shale is both the biggest natural gas field in the country and the cheapest place to drill. The Marcellus shale underlies West Virgnia, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. But because of Cuomo’s ban on high volume hydraulic fracturing, the growth of natural gas production from the Marcellus is occuring in other states.

Gov. Cuomo continues to stonewall hydraulic fracturing and increased natural gas production in New York. That is despite the fact the federal EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, states on the record that there is no case of hydraulic fracturing affecting drinking water supplies. Albany officials have been examining the prospects of hydraulic fracturing for four years now; nevertheless Mr. Cuomo has taken the rather redundant step of setting up another “study”. This involves holding a public hearing and pushing the decision-making process back even further. Only then will Mr. Cuomo consider making a decision. I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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(Joe O’Connor is a Fall 2012 research associate with the Institute for Energy Research)


View Comments
  • http://www.enviroequipment.com/ EnviroEquipment.com

    While I agree with your contention that Gov. Cuomo should lift the ban on hydraulic fracturing in New York State and stop pussyfooting around the issue, you’re wrong when you state that Lisa Jackson of the EPA has stated on the record that there is no case of hydraulic fracturing affecting drinking water supplies. What she said back in May of 2011 was that she is not aware
    of any proof where the fracking process itself has contaminated water. However, just seven months later the EPA released a report officially linking hydraulic fracturing with groundwater contamination in the town of Pavilion, Wyoming.

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