New York is a bad neighbor to New England

Gov. Cuomo is blocking pipelines that could help region


As a rule of thumb, I generally don’t feel bad for anyone who roots for the Bruins or the Patriots. But lately, I’ve re-considered such feelings.

New York has been a bad neighbor.

For years, you’ve experienced some of the highest electricity and home heating prices in the nation—and they make it extra hard for you to compete with other states for jobs and investment.

You’re now threatened with the possibility of forced, rolling wintertime blackouts in coming years, according to your electric grid operator, because you can’t get enough access to affordable, clean-burning natural gas to keep your power plants running.

These same constraints on pipeline capacity socked you with an extra $1.7 billion in electric and heating costs this past winter. That’s like every single resident of New England getting slapped with a $100 tax.

And no individual has done more to make your problems worse than our governor, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

New York state Sen. Robert Ortt.

You could be tapping into the world’s most abundant, affordable supply of natural gas, just 300 miles away from you in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale–natural gas that’s delivering billions of dollars in savings to gas customers throughout the Mid-Atlantic states.

But our governor has been absolutely dead-set on stopping any and every natural gas pipeline infrastructure expansion that would bring New England the fuel you need and deserve. He’s twisted New York laws as hard as he can to undercut federal laws that expressly permit sensible, long-overdue modernization of our interstate natural gas infrastructure.

Not that it will make you feel any better, but Cuomo has also vowed to block us, his own New York constituents, from enjoying the economic and environmental benefits of natural gas: thwarting pipelines, vowing to veto and shut down natural gas power plants, and stopping New York from pursuing the same kind of made-in-the-USA energy production that’s transformed Pennsylvania’s economy. Facing a tough primary-election challenge, our governor cares more about mollifying extremists on the far left of his party than about lowering needlessly excessive energy costs and securing a reliable year-round energy supply.

Don’t just take it from me. Just a few days ago, one of our country’s top energy regulators, Commissioner Neil Chatterjee of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,  was in New York and said: “The gravest threat we face to resilience and fuel security is in New England and that’s not the result of coal and nuke retirements but because of gas constraints due to a lack of adequate infrastructure … You can’t get there unless you go through New York.”

But as people in the energy industry will tell you, for New Englanders trying to get more access to natural gas, what used to be the Empire State has become “The Wall of Cuomo.”

Meet the Author

Rob Ortt

Senator, New York Senate
Instead of being a good neighbor to New England, New York has become a job-killing, economy-choking, energy-reliability-threatening menace to our neighboring states. Sadly, the number one reason is our governor puts scoring election-year ideological points with environmental extremists above allowing all the benefits of sensible, long-overdue pipeline modernization and expansion to flow to his own citizens and to his New England neighbors.

Rob Ortt is a Republican state senator from western New York and a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications. He is an unapologetic fan of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres.