Secretary of Energy Rick Perry sent a not-so-subtle signal to New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo that the federal government may intervene to keep New York officials from blocking natural gas pipelines.
“The citizens of New York are paying more for energy,” Perry said at the World Gas Conference in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
“Their health and well-being is being put in jeopardy,” Perry said. “If a polar vortex comes into the northeast part of the country, or a cyberattack, and people literally have to start making decisions on how to keep their family warm or keep the lights on, at that time, the leadership of that state will have a real reckoning.”
Although Perry did not mention Cuomo by name, the former Texas governor criticized the Cuomo administration’s efforts to keep new pipelines from being built, which were a major factor behind high energy prices during winter 2017-2018.
When temperatures in the eastern U.S. plummeted earlier in 2018, “pipeline constraints” and power plant closures caused natural gas prices to skyrocket and power plants to burn oil to keep the lights on.
The U.S. Northeast was so desperate for gas that residents were forced to import liquefied natural gas from Russia. The Cuomo administration is responsible for blocking pipelines, possibly relegating the northeast to a future of “rolling blackouts,” according to grid operators.
“I wouldn’t want to be the governor of that state facing that situation,” Perry said. “We have to have conversation as a country. Is that a national security issue that outweighs the political concerns in Albany, N.Y.?”
Perry has longed criticized Cuomo’s policies, but Perry’s recent comments came amid a discussion about the Trump administration’s plan to keep nuclear and coal plants from closing. Perry said plant closures are a serious national security risk.
“And people literally have to start making the decision about ‘Do I keep my family warm? Do I keep the lights on?'” he said. “Does the financial center of New York go dark? Do the hospitals shut down?” (RELATED: Not Even Al Gore Thinks Germany’s $1 Trillion Global Warming Plan Is Working Very Well)
Cuomo’s opposition to pipelines has appeased environmental activists who want to keep natural gas from flowing through New York to New England.
“What New York has shown is a model for examining the potential impacts to clean water of pipelines,” Amy Mall, a senior policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told Politico. “They’ve done it in a way that is methodical and comprehensive and sufficiently rigorous to understand what the risks are.”
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