April 28, 2016
By LIUNA President Terry O’Sullivan
Washington, D.C. – The Constitution Pipeline permit denial by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) is both a disappointment and an insult to the citizens of New York and the thousands of hard working tradesmen and women who would have benefited from the good jobs and affordable clean energy.
The project was shovel-ready and would have been built under a Project Labor Agreement; ensuring that thousands of highly-skilled and trained construction workers would have job opportunities with family-supporting wages and benefits.
The unusual decision to deny a federally-approved project sacrifices the best interests of New Yorkers. Utilizing skilled construction workers and responsible contractors, pipelines are safe. Despite the hysteria surrounding pipeline construction, pipelines are the safest way to transport natural gas.
The facts that have been completely disregarded are that expansion of natural gas is the best hope for affordable energy in a region with some of the highest energy costs in the nation. Without it, New York cannot meet future energy demands or clean power goals. The scheduled closure of the FitzPatrick nuclear power plant and the proposed closure of the state’s three remaining coal plants will take enough energy offline to power more than a million homes.
The closures combined with anticipated increases in demand and EPA goals to reduce emissions by 10 percent will create a shortfall of 29 million megawatt hours by 2030. Fully two thirds of New York's clean energy requirements could be met by using natural gas: without it and projects like the Constitution Pipeline, there is not a realistic scenario for meeting these goals or keeping the lights on.
Instead of considering what is in the best interest of the people of the great state of New York, the decision by the NYSDEC undermines the economy, progress on clean power, and access to affordable energy.