FILE - This June 12, 2014 file photo shows Dominion Energy's Cove Point LNG Terminal in Lusby, Md. Natural gas overtook coal as the top source of U.S. electric power generation for the first time ever in April of 2015, a milestone that has been in the making for years as the price of gas slides and new regulations make coal more risky for power generators. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File) ORG XMIT: NYBZ166 ORG XMIT: MER2015071311255494
Houston-based Consumer Energy Alliance Wednesday said New Yorkers have saved more than $30 billion in the past decade on their energy bills thanks to lower natural gas prices.
But the group also said savings could be even greater if more pipelines to deliver the product could be built and if fracking could tap into existing Marcellus shale gas deposits in the state's Southern Tier.
"The good news is that lower-cost, cleaner-burning natural gas imported into the state has brought some relief to families and businesses and helped lawmakers meet their ambitious emissions goals," Mike Butler, CEA's Mid-Atlantic Director, said. "The bad news is that there isn't enough of it.
"Those policymakers who continuously argue against natural gas, thwarting its development and production, curtailing pipeline construction and tying the state up in redundant, and often excessive litigation, are taking more money from those taxpayers who direly need cost savings," Butler said.
Opponents have claimed that existing pipelines have been sufficient to deliver natural gas to satisfy local market demands.
"The court rightfully denied the attempt to use the federal justice system to force New Yorkers into a pipeline we don't want and don't need," said Wes Gillingham, associate director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, last May after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from developers of the $750 million Constitution pipeline project after a lower court rejected their argument that state regulators had unfairly rejected needed permits for its construction.
Some areas of the state have faced tightening supplies. In Westchester County, local utility Consolidated Edison was proposing a moratorium on new natural gas hookups. Con Ed said the moratorium would take effect March 15.
Another pipeline project that would deliver natural gas to eastern Massachusetts was scrapped in the face of strong local opposition. The $3.1 billion Kinder Morgan project would have passed through the Capital Region.
Natural gas has a number of benefits, according to CEA's Butler.
"Those benefits include robust emissions reductions, usefulness as an ingredient for manufacturing almost everything we use every day (as well as construction of windmills and solar panels), and electricity – as well as back-up electricity of wind and solar on cloudy or wind-free days," he said in a statement. "These are key facts that anti-development activists and far too many political leaders may not know."