Energy

Utility Halts Natural Gas Hook-Ups For NYC, Long Island After Cuomo Administration Blocks Pipeline

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

The northeastern U.S.’s largest supplier of natural gas stopped processing new customer applications in New York City and Long Island after the Cuomo administration blocked a major pipeline project.

The moratorium is the second to hit New Yorkers in 2019 as a result of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s opposition to natural gas pipelines needed to meet growing demand in the state and New England.

“We are not processing new applications for any new customers,” National Grid New York President John Bruckner said Thursday. “We’ll continue to receive requests for service, but we’re not processing them.”

New York officials rejected a water permit application for the Northeast Supply Enhancement pipeline project Thursday, claiming it would “result in water quality violations” as currently planned. (RELATED: Trump Strips High-Speed Rail Funds From California)

For many observers, the rejection wasn’t much of a surprise. Cuomo wants the state to adopt his version of the Green New Deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions and end fossil fuel use.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) smile after signing the Red Flag bill, also known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill, in New York

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) smile after signing the Red Flag bill. (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

The 24-mile pipeline would run from New Jersey to New York Bay through Raritan Bay. National Grid, a regional power and gas provider, said it would be forced to impose a moratorium if the pipeline isn’t approved.

The Trump administration has used Cuomo’s blocking of natural gas pipelines as a reason to expedite project approvals and re-examine state authority over water quality permits. Cuomo promised to fight any attempt by the White House to curtail state water permitting authority.

“New York is hurting the country because they’re not allowing us to get those pipelines through, and that’s why they’re paying so much for their heating and all of the things that energy and our energy produces,” Trump said after signing pipeline executive orders in April.

“So hopefully they can come on board and get in line with what’s happening,” Trump said.

Environmentalists cheered the state’s blocking of the Northeast Supply Enhancement pipeline.

“The state has made it clear that dangerous gas pipelines have no place in New York. This is a victory for clean water, marine life, communities and people’s health across the state,” Natural Resources Defense Council senior attorney Kim Ong told Politico.

“Along with our allies, we will continue to ensure this reckless project is shelved forever,” Ong said.

Cuomo’s administration rejected several major pipeline projects in recent years. New York’s opposition to pipelines is a major contributor to natural gas shortages in the Northeast, particularly during winter.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference about Amazon's headquarters expansion to Long Island City in the Queens borough of New York City

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference about Amazon’s headquarters expansion to Long Island City in the Queens borough of New York City, in New York, U.S., November 13, 2018. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon.

But natural gas shortages aren’t just relegated to winters anymore.

In March, utility Consolidated Edison put a moratorium on new natural gas hookups across parts of Westchester County. Local officials worry the moratorium will hurt the economy and raise energy prices.

However, Bruckner said he’s “confident they’ll be able to provide information to mitigate” the state’s concerns. New York allowed Williams Co., the company building the pipeline, to resubmit its application.

Until then, National Grid warned larger customers, like businesses and industrial facilities, they may not receive natural gas on extremely cold days.

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