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September 3, 2019

How One State’s Anti-Natural Gas Policy Impacts An Entire Region

Until recently, Angela O’Connor was head of the Massachusetts’ Public Utilities Commission – the commonwealth’s top energy regulator. In a New York Daily News op-ed published last week O’Connor discusses how anti-natural gas policy set in New York state affected New England states’ access to affordable energy.

Specifically, O’Connor argues New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s policy of preventing the addition of new natural gas pipelines to bring the resource through New York into New England caused Massachusetts to come within 48 hours of running out of fuel during the 2017/18 “polar vortex.” O’Connor also says the lack of natural gas during the extreme cold weather resulted in Massachusetts residents relying on dirtier fuels. She estimates this fact led to a doubling of carbon dioxide emissions during the height of the vortex.

O’Connor, a supporter of renewable energy like wind and solar, argues “New York and New England are facing more than a decade of continued reliance on fossil fuels to meet our energy demands. Doesn’t it make sense to use the cleanest option, rather than blocking a pipeline because it satisfies anti-natural gas ideology? Responsible climate policy must be about immediately reducing carbon emissions in every way we can – through the development of renewable energy production and battery storage of course, but also by removing the worst of our current power production fleet, and replacing it with something cleaner.”