With gas prices skyrocketing toward $5 a gallon, the brakes being slammed on potential new nuclear plants, and no relief in sight, you’d think that New York politicians would be doing everything they could to develop efficient new sources of clean energy as quickly as possible. But, in New York, the attitude seems to be not here, not now, not ever, and not even nearby.
Our recently elected Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, last week threatened to file a lawsuit to stop limited exploratory drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale found in the area of the Delaware River Basin, with the excuse that a proper environmental impact study was not done before new regulations were set.
The Marcellus Shale is an area of very deep, low density, organic rich shale that covers large parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York and a few other states. With new drilling techniques recently developed, geologists estimate that approximately 50 trillion cubic feet of clean-burning natural gas could be recovered from the Marcellus Shale, enough to supply the entire United States for two years.
This is a find of monumental proportions. Oil burning generators, which, along with coal generators, are the main source of electricity in NY, could partially be converted into natural gas burning facilities, substantially saving New Yorkers money to power, heat and cool their homes.
In defending the decision to go forward with the new regulations, Brig. Gen. Peter DeLuca of the Army Corp of Engineers, which represents President Obama on the Delaware River Basin Commission responsible for oversight of the region, said, “The federal family of agencies that I represent on the commission are collectively charged with a requirement to support the economic needs of the region and our nation’s need to secure energy reserves while protecting the environment.”
Someone, it seems, understands we have a crises on our hands. But not AG Schneiderman, who is also pushing to close the nuclear plant at Indian Point, even though it appears to remain extremely safe, and is looking to sue regional energy providers for emitting, of all things, CO2. Yes, CO2, the same gas you and I are exhaling this very minute.
Every small delay now costs us years in energy independence. Meanwhile drilling for natural gas is exploding across Pennsylvania with only minor issues that can be addressed as we move forward. But for Democrats in NY, anything that might help mitigate the rising cost of oil for consumers would appear to be ‘verboten’ in deference to their radical anti-energy environment first agenda.
Robert Hornak is a Queens-based political consultant, blogger, and an active member of the Queens Republican Party.