New York Department of Environmental Conservation officials have rejected a proposed pipeline that would deliver inexpensive natural gas from Pennsylvania to upstate New York. The decision by the Andrew Cuomo administration will lock in high electricity prices for New Yorkers who pay among the highest electricity rates in the country.
The proposed Constitution Pipeline would run 120 miles from northeastern Pennsylvania to Schoharie County, west of Albany. Inexpensive natural gas is inducing the closure of coal and nuclear power plants throughout the country, as neither can compete with low natural gas prices. Natural gas’ growing market share is a primary reason why national electricity prices have declined in inflation-adjusted dollars since 2008.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, however, is fighting natural gas’ progress. In December 2014 the Cuomo administration announced a ban on hydraulic fracturing – also known as fracking – that has driven down natural gas production costs. New York electricity providers still receive some fracked natural gas from Pennsylvania and other states, enabling some New York power plants to produce low-priced natural gas electricity.
The Cuomo administration’s decision to block the Constitution Pipeline marks the second time in a year that state officials blocked pipelines from Pennsylvania that would alleviate New York’s high electricity prices. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, New Yorkers pay 40% higher electricity prices than Pennsylvanians. New York and Pennsylvania each sit on massive natural gas fields. While Pennsylvania, like nearly all other states, allows natural gas production through hydraulic fracturing, New York does not.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports New Yorkers pay the sixth highest electricity prices in the 48 contiguous United States. The Cuomo administration’s pipeline decisions ensure New Yorkers will continue to pay among the highest electricity prices in the nation.