NY State Energy Plan Needs to Rely Less on Fracked Gas and More on Renewables
In a move that bolsters the growing anti-fracking movement, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made headlines last week when he spoke out against fracking: “The science simply isn’t reliable enough. The technology isn’t reliable enough. And there’s too much danger to our water supply, to our environment in general.”
We couldn’t agree more. That’s why we don’t want a New York State Energy Plan that relies more heavily on fracked gas. Whether natural gas is coming from New York State or neighboring Pennsylvania, it still contributes to climate change and perpetuates the mining and burning of dirty fossil fuels long into the future. Instead of increasing our reliance on natural gas, we should be planning for greater investment in clean, renewable energies such as solar, wind and geothermal. Join us in asking for a safer, cleaner energy future by commenting on the plan today.
We applaud the Governor’s new initiatives on renewable energy and clean technology that are outlined in the plan, including a ten-year statewide solar program that will increase solar power generation ten-fold, and a program to put solar panels on our schools.
But what else is outlined in the plan? We looked at the 600-page document and found that it relies heavily on burning natural gas and promotes a massive build-out of natural gas infrastructure (an expanded network of pipelines, compressor stations and storage facilities across New York State).
We also found omissions and inconsistencies that will harm New Yorkers. For instance, the plan projects a 50% reduction of carbon emissions by 2030. This goal is based on an increase of natural gas use. The calculation outlined to measure emissions is limited to carbon dioxide only, and completely ignores the measurement of methane. Methane is the major component of natural gas, and has been proven to leak throughout the drilling and delivery processes.
The plan asks for having an 80% reduction in overall green house gas emissions by 2050, which is a laudable goal. But we cannot base our calculations to get there by ignoring the impacts of natural gas infrastructure, and the increased methane emissions that would come with it. We need to demand an energy plan that considers the impacts of all climate-changing emissions, including methane.
“The overall energy policy outlined in the plan guarantees the perpetuation of dirty fossil fuels,” says Wes Gillingham, Catskill Mountainkeeper Program Director, “If gas companies spend billions on a new natural gas infrastructure they will want to see a return on this investment, which would tie us to natural gas for many, many years.”
The public review process of the draft Energy Plan is now underway. The public has only been given 60 days to comment on the 600-page document, and although there are supposed to be 6 public hearings in Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Island, none have been scheduled to date. Originally the statute that governs energy policy stated that the public would have 6 months to review this critical plan, but delays in the release of the document have shut out sufficient public comment. This is unacceptable.
What we decide today will shape the energy future of New York. Please join us in two important actions:
- Click here to sign a letter to John B. Rhodes, the Chairman of the New York State Energy State Planning Board, requesting that the comment period be extended from 2 to 6 months.
- Click here to comment on the energy plan. Please tell the Governor:
- Instead of growing our dependence on natural gas, we should be weaning off of it.
- Methane emissions must be measured to more accurately predict how much green house gas we’re sending into the atmosphere.
- Instead of building a massive gas infrastructure, we should be building an infrastructure for clean, renewable energy.