Analysis: Cuomo administration can’t meet climate commitments without halting natural gas pipelines

Feb 27, Willow, NY: A new analysis released today shows the Cuomo administration cannot meet its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 if the planned construction and use of natural gas pipelines and associated infrastructure moves forward. Released by Earthworks, New York’s Energy Crossroads – How the state’s climate goals clash with natural gas infrastructure also examines the state’s policy toolbox and recommends how Governor Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) should use it more effectively to halt the buildout.

“Our analysis shows Governor Cuomo can either work to achieve his climate commitments or support new natural gas infrastructure, but not both,” said Earthworks spokesperson Nadia Steinzor. She continued, “Fortunately, he has the tools at his disposal to prevent committing New Yorkers to decades more fossil fuel consumption and harmful pollution.”

New York’s Energy Crossroads is comprised of two parts:

  1. Commissioned by Earthworks, a Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE) analysis of the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from ten proposed New York pipelines and associated infrastructure.
  2. An Earthworks analysis of the choices facing the Cuomo administration to stop development and reduce emissions.

Earthworks recommends that Governor Cuomo, state agencies, and elected officials should:

  1. Fully exercise delegated federal authority, especially under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, to restrict or deny permits for proposed projects.
  2. Fill the ‘regulatory vacuum’ created by Trump Administration with a robust strategies to implement New York’s 2017 Methane Reduction Plan and limit oil and gas air pollution.
  3. Enforce specialized permit conditions for pipeline infrastructure.

 Dr. Elena Krieger, Director of PSE’s Clean Energy Program:
“Our analysis shows that the build-out and use of natural gas pipelines currently proposed across New York State would put the state’s 2030 goal of 40% greenhouse gas emission reductions virtually out of reach due to the increase of both carbon dioxide emissions from natural gas consumption as well methane leakage across the natural gas system both within and outside the state.”

Wes Gillingham, Associate Director, Catskill Mountainkeeper:
“New York State’s energy future is at a fork in road. We can choose clean energy, good jobs for New Yorkers, and healthy communities; or we can choose fossil fuels. Fossil fuels endanger our water, air, children’s health, and entire planet’s future. Governor Cuomo is leaning down the renewables path, but he must fully commit. We must stop new gas infrastructure, switch to 100% renewables, and make polluters pay. We cannot walk both roads and get to a just transition to renewable energy.”

Suzannah Glidden, Co-founder, Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion:
“We’re going to make sure that Westchester County decisionmakers and DEC regulators see and use this analysis. New York can and must stop planned natural gas infrastructure, reducing toxic pollution and greenhouse gases in the process. To meet urgent climate goals and protect public health and the environment, we must replace oil and gas with 100% renewable energy for all purposes as swiftly as possible.”


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