Con Ed May Stop Adding New NatGas Customers Thx to Cuomo

The actions of political leaders have consequences. Sometimes dire consequences. People like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo believe they can wave a magic wand and proclaim, “No more fossil fuels, we’ll just use solar and wind instead.” But proclaiming it doesn’t make it so. Proclaiming it doesn’t exempt you from the consequences of your actions. In recent years Cuomo has blocked new natural gas pipeline projects that would deliver Marcellus gas from Pennsylvania, claiming we need to move to so-called renewable energy. Now the chickens have come home to roost.
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Pipeline Relief Coming 2019? Trump Targeting States Like NY

We’re feeling better and better that President Trump is ready to take action to overrule states like New York that abuse the federal Clean Water Act in order to block interstate pipeline projects. We first picked up on comments by Energy Secretary Rick Perry back in May (see DOE Sec. Perry Hints Trump May Overrule States Blocking Pipelines). Then we spotted comments by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke last week (see Interior Sec. Zinke Implies NY Doesn’t Have Right to Block Pipes). And now, Larry Kudlow, Trump’s Director of the National Economic Council, has weighed in and said essentially the same thing.
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Williams CEO Compliments PA Gov Wolf, Roasts NY Gov Cuomo

Williams CEO Alan Armstrong

On Friday Williams CEO Alan Armstrong addressed CEA’s Energy and Manufacturing Summit in Pittsburgh. Ahead of that address, Armstrong granted an exclusive interview to the Pittsburgh Business Times, an interview in which he had some flattering words for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (i.e. sucked up to him), and some rather unflattering words for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
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New Williams Board Appointment Raises Ethics Question

On July 31 midstream giant Williams announced it had added a new member to its board of directors, Vicki Fuller. We didn’t think much of it at the time. We included a mention in our “best of the rest” section the following day (see Energy Stories of Interest: Wed, Aug 1, 2018). Fuller is an accomplished woman–very smart. Prior to assuming her part-time role at Williams (for a cool $275,000 per year), she was the chief investment officer of the New York State Common Retirement Fund. That is, she decided how and where to invest the $207 billion worth of investments in the pension fund, put there by New York State workers (teachers and others), used to cover their retirement pensions. That’s a lot of responsibility riding on one person’s shoulders. And therein is the rub. Anti fossil fuel radicals have been pushing New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli (a wildly left liberal himself) and Fuller (appointed by DiNapoli) to divest the Common Retirement Fund from fossil fuel companies–companies like Williams. To his credit, DiNapoli has resisted the political pressure to divest, realizing that millions of pensioners’ investments would fall by billions of dollars if that happens. And to her credit, Fuller did not cave to the pressure either. Liberal media (PBS) is now going after Fuller and her appointment to the Williams board, implying it’s some sort of quid pro quo–that Fuller got the job and a big salary for doing part-time work, in return for not divesting the pension fund from Williams stocks and bonds. Which is a stretch. A big stretch. However, the timing of her departure as CIO of the pension fund and her appointment to the Williams board (both in the same week) doesn’t look good…
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Corrupt: Dem Govs, AGs Sell Their Offices & Power to Big Green

Warning: Knowledge of what’s happening in the offices of governors like Jerry Brown (California) and Andrew Cuomo (New York), and their attorney generals, will make you want to throw up–at the overt corruption. A pair of research reports from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) shines a very bright light on what is major corruption at the highest levels of our state governments. One report, titled “Law Enforcement for Rent: How Special Interests Fund Climate Policy through State Attorneys General” (full copy below) details how Democrat Attorney Generals in various states, including New York and Maryland, are selling access to their offices to Big Green groups. AGs can only make so much mischief. They have budgets that control how many staffers they can hire. In order to circumvent those hiring limits, Big Green groups are funding lawyers and assistants to help AGs sue fossil fuel companies–they work right in the AG’s office! If it’s not outright illegal, it’s certainly unethical. State legislatures need to pass laws now to prevent this kind of abuse of our legal system to favor one side over another. The law is supposed to be blind and impartial, not weighted against one side or the other. If that weren’t bad enough, CEI published a second study titled “Government for Rent: How Special Interests Finance Governors to Pursue Their Climate Policy Agenda” (full copy below) showing how some Democrat governors are doing the same thing–allowing outside, paid-by-Big-Green staffers to be added to their operations in an attempt to slander and smear fossil fuel companies. Andrew Cuomo’s office is one of the offenders. THIS MUST STOP…
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Williams Donates $100,000 to Cuomo/Democrats? Say It Ain’t So!

It’s just coming to light (for us anyway) that earlier this year Williams donated $100,000 to the Democratic Governors Association–a group that is devoted to electing more Democrats as governors, and a group that heavily supports Andrew Cuomo in his reelection bid here in the Empire State. Shame on Williams. Are they insane? Cuomo, who is CORRUPT, has blocked Williams project after Williams project in New York. But apparently he has not blocked all Williams projects. Less than three months after the Williams “donation,” the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which ONLY does the bidding of Cuomo, denied “without prejudice” a water quality permit for the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project, allowing Williams to submit a new application (i.e. keeping it alive). Oh, and Cuomo hired the lobbyist who was working on that same pipeline project…to run his reelection campaign. Sniff sniff. Do you smell something? We’re not accusing anybody of anything–least of all Williams, which has to do what they have to do in a state that’s run like a third world dictatorship. However, you have to admit the situation raises questions. And we still can’t get over the fact that Williams donated a hundred grand to the other side. That boggles the mind…
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Making Sense of Insane NY – How Radicals Pressure Cuomo re NatGas

If you live in New York State, as MDN editor Jim Willis does, you often shake your head at the stupidity of our political leaders. Especially people like Gov. Andrew Cuomo. How could he, in good conscience, turn against natural gas and block pipelines, electric plants and fracking? Is he obtuse? Is he getting paid-off by someone? There has to be a reason for his obviously irrational behavior. What is that reason? We have, perhaps, a better understanding now. The radical left is well-organized–think Saul Alinksy, Obama and Hillary Clinton’s idol. Taking a chapter from Alinksy’s “Rules for Radicals” book, the green radicals in NY have organized themselves to pressure Cuomo. We’d call it highly organized and well-funded. The radicals have weekly meetings, plan strategy, and motivate groups of blind followers to show up and heckle Cuomo at public events. And guess what? Cuomo caves–every time. Like a house of cards. The radicals have found the magic formula to pressure Cuomo into doing their bidding. Andrew Cuomo is actually weak-willed. He’s a patsy for the green movement because he fears them, fears a public shaming by them. And so they have their way with him–every time. None other than a liberal Gannett reporter has outed Cuomo as a Big Green patsy…
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NY Antis Gear Up to Oppose Zero-Emission Compressor Stn

As we reported in March, Empire Pipeline, the midstream (pipeline) subsidiary of National Fuel Gas Company, filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build two new compressor stations along the Empire Pipeline–one in Tioga County, PA, the other in Ontario County, NY (see Empire Pipe Plans 2 Compressors in PA & NY to Move Marcellus Gas). Without building any new pipeline, the addition of these two compressor stations will allow an extra 205,000 dekatherms per day (205 million cubic feet/day) of PA Marcellus gas to flow through the Empire Pipeline system. The project, called Empire North Project, will provide much-needed natural gas for Upstate NY and Canada. It will also connect to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, so who knows? Maybe some Marcellus molecules will find their way into New England too. Anti-fossil fuelers in NY are ramping up to oppose the project. Nothing new about that, unfortunately. The thing is, the proposed compressor station in Ontario County will have zero (yes, zero) emissions. It will use electricity instead of diesel or natural gas or other fuels–so there’s no smoke stack and absolutely nothing going into the atmosphere. Completely benign. And yet, because the compressor station will flow more “fracked gas” from PA flow through the pipeline, irrational nutjobs are opposing it. Talk about stupid. These people will protest and oppose an emissions-less compressor station that helps flow more natural gas, but they won’t actually give up their own natural gas! They won’t stop grilling with natural gas. They won’t stop heating and cooking with natural gas. They won’t stop cooling with natural gas. They won’t stop buying clothes and shoes made, in part, from natural gas (plastics). No. Everyone else has to do those things–not these ignorant, wine-tasting snobs from the Finger Lakes who want to block this emissions-less compressor station…
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Cuomo Pipe Policies Put Thousands of Union Members Out of Work

The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing yesterday to consider the Water Quality Certification Improvement Act of 2018 (S. 3303). Two weeks ago we told you about S. 3303, a bill that will “fix” the issue of states like New York using Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, which allows states to have a say in where interstate pipeline routes can pass through a state, from abusing that authority to block pipeline projects (see US Senate Bill Fixes States Blocking Pipelines via Water Permits). One of the people testifying at yesterday’s hearing was Brent Booker, the secretary-treasurer of North America’s Building Trades Unions. Brent represents some 3 million (!) union workers. He spoke passionately about the damage that has been done by NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo in blocking new pipeline projects. Because of Cuomo’s actions, literally thousands of union workers (Democrat voters) are now out of work–people who could have been working all along but aren’t because Cuomo is abusing the federal Clean Water Act’s Section 401 to politically block new fossil fuel pipelines…
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Caithness Energy Sues PSEG for Blocking Long Island Gas-Fired Plant

Caithness Energy, a privately held company that specializes in buying or building (and operating) renewable energy and natural gas-fired power plants, owns a 350 megawatt natgas-fired power plant in Yaphank, NY–on Long Island. For more than four years Caithness has had a plan to build a second natgas-fired plant next to their first plant. The original plan was for a 750 MW plant, later scaled back to 600 MW. Local leaders in Brookhaven Town in which the existing and proposed power plant projects sit have been against the plan for a new power plant, passing restrictions in 2015 that tied the hands of Caithness, making the project impossible to build. But in July, the board reversed course and voted to repeal the 2015 restriction that limits the type of equipment Caithness can use in building the plant, clearing the way for the project (see Long Island Town Votes to Allow New Gas-Fired Elec Plant). However, the path is still not cleared. Newark, NJ-based PSEG (Public Service Enterprise Group), which provides electricity to Long Island, told the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) that the Caithness plant is not needed. It’s a case of one competitor unfairly trying to block another–according to Caithness, which has just filed a lawsuit against PSEG saying it has suffered “hundreds of millions of dollars of harm” because of PSEG’s actions to block the project. Looks like this one is going to get NY nasty…
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Antis Still Can’t Come to Terms They Lost NY AIM Pipe Case

Big Green antis thought they could stop the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline project–an expansion of the existing Algonquin pipeline system designed to carry 342 million cubic feet of natural gas per day to New England states that badly need the gas. On March 3, 2015 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final approval for the project. Construction began in 2015 and, following extreme opposition from New York State over a small portion of the project near the Indian Point nuclear plant (which will shut down in a few years anyway), AIM finally went online in late 2016. In what has become a typical pattern, Big Green groups asked FERC to rehear their decision to approve AIM, FERC refused, and Big Green then filed a lawsuit in federal court. But two weeks ago the federal court told the antis “no,” crushing their efforts to roll back the expanded pipeline (see DC Circuit Court Denies Anti Request to Rehear AIM Pipe Approval). That should be the end of the matter. There’s no place left to go, court-wise, except maybe (one in a million odds) to the U.S. Supreme Court. Yet the antis, still disbelieving they’ve lost, are threatening to pursue it legally. Some unstable people just can’t let go…
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Cuomo Plan to Divest Pension Fund from Fossil Fuels Cost NY $1T

Andrew Cuomo – tinhorn dictator of NY

Sorry to harp yet again on the tinhorn dictator Andrew Cuomo, so-called governor of New York, but his actions are so egregious, so outside the mainstream, we can’t keep silent. Cuomo is bragging that he’s not only shut down fracking in the state, he’s also blocking natural gas pipelines and blocking new gas-fired electric generating plants. He’s clinically off his rocker. And now Cuomo is pushing NY’s public employee pension fund to completely divest any stock holdings in fossil fuel companies. University of Chicago Law School Prof. Daniel Fischel and Compass Lexecon economists Christopher Fiore and Todd Kendall have analyzed the risks associated with fossil fuel divestment by both New York and Colorado’s retirement funds. They found that over the next 50 years, divesting NY’s retirement fund will cost NY pensioners $1 TRILLION of value they otherwise would have had in their pockets. Will anyone have the guts to stop the Cuomo train wreck before it’s too late?…
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Big News: FERC Overrules NY DEC to Approve Northern Access Pipe

Finally, a New York pipeline story with a happy ending. On Feb. 3, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a long-delayed project–National Fuel Gas Company’s (NFG) Northern Access 2016 pipeline project (see NFG’s Northern Access Pipe in NY/PA Gets FERC Approval). The $500 million project includes building 97 miles of new pipeline along a power line corridor from northwestern Pennsylvania up to Erie County, NY. The project also calls for 3 miles of new pipeline further up, in Niagara County, along with a new compressor station in the Town of Pendleton. Although FERC granted permission to build it, the State of New York, specifically the state’s Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), arbitrarily and capriciously tried to block it (see Cuomo’s Corrupt NY DEC Blocks NFG Northern Access Pipeline Permit). We’ve seen this movie before. NFG, in no mood to screw around with the Cuomo-corrupted DEC, filed a motion asking FERC for a “reconsideration and clarification” on the role of the DEC in reviewing the project (see Gutsy: NFG Asks FERC to Cut NY DEC Out of Pipeline Approval). On Monday, FERC ruled on that request, ruling in NFG’s favor and against NY DEC. FERC said the DEC took longer than the one year they have under law to issue their rejection, therefore, FERC itself is issuing the water permits. In other words, FERC just struck a blow against corruption in New York State…
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Williams to Appeal FERC’s Constitution Pipe Decision to Fed Court

Last Friday MDN brought you the sad news that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected Williams’ request to rehear an earlier decision to not overrule the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) decision to block the Constitution Pipeline (see FERC Declines to Overrule NY DEC re Constitution Pipe 2nd Time). We personally don’t see many (really any) pathways where the Constitution now gets built. But to their credit, Williams is not giving up. After FERC’s decision last week, the company announced it will appeal that decision to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, asking the judges to overrule the DEC (bypassing FERC). Williams has filed in various courts, including the Supreme Court, to hear the Constitution case. Why not try the D.C. Circuit Court? There’s really nothing to lose. The project is currently as dead as a doornail anyway. So, hats off to Williams for giving it one last try…
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FERC Declines to Overrule NY DEC re Constitution Pipe 2nd Time

One more thread has broken that holds together hope that Williams’ Constitution Pipeline will ever get built. Perhaps the final thread. Yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a ruling denying a rehearing request on the project–the second time they have done so. The Andrew Cuomo-corrupted NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) refused to grant the pipeline project necessary federal stream crossing permits, blocking construction, in April 2016 (see NY Gov. Cuomo Refuses to Grant Permits for Constitution Pipeline). Williams asked the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC) to overrule DEC and allow construction to begin. In January of this year, FERC denied that request (see Death of the Constitution Pipeline? FERC Refuses to Overrule NY DEC). In February of this year, Williams asked FERC to reconsider their denial. FERC’s response yesterday: No. Meanwhile, Williams had filed a lawsuit in federal court that eventually was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In April, the Supremes refused to hear the case, shutting down that avenue (see Supreme Court Rejects Constitution Pipe Request to Overrule NY). As we’ve previously written, we now see only two remaining threads of hope–and they are very thin threads at that: (1) NY elects Cuomo’s Republican rival as governor and he reverses course and permits the project (about a snowball’s chance in Hades that Republican Marc Molinaro will win), and (2) President Trump signs an executive order overruling NY. That second thread is about the best chance Constitution now has. And even if Trump were to issue an executive order, we expect NY would go to court to try and stop it, dragging it out for years. As sad as we are to say this, for all intents and purposes, Constitution is dead…
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Federal Judge Tosses NYC Climate Change Lawsuit Against Oil Cos.

New York City, in its attempt to (a) take every last dime out of the pockets of five big oil companies, and (b) shut down all fossil fuel extraction in the future–has struck out. Rather magnificently. In January, New York City’s insane mayor, Bill de Blasio, used city resources to sue five oil companies, blaming them for “climate change”–the hoax that mankind is causing the earth to warm at an apocalyptic rate (see NYC Commits Fossil Fuel Suicide – Sues Big Oil, Ending Investments). The theory behind global warming is that burning fossil fuels (extracted by the five companies) releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere where the CO2 then acts like a canopy over the earth, trapping in heat from the sun, causing the earth to warm. And, as the theory goes, Mom Earth is warming up to such a degree that it will “soon” (any year now) kill plants, animals, mankind–all living things. All sorts of ills are laid at the feet of so-called global warming, now called “climate change,” including earthquakes, major storms, hurricanes, pestilence, racism. No, we’re not exaggerating. EVERYTHING is blamed on global warming. Even the record cold temperatures that we experienced in the northeast last winter are blamed on global warming! Wait–how can that be? How can a canopy effect trapping heat cause COLDER temps? Obviously it can’t, but these people will believe anything. At its root, de Blasio’s move is not *really* about global warming and preserving the planet–it’s about an avowed socialist (de Blasio admits his perverse political leanings) attempting to steal money from those who earn it, in order to redistribute it to people who don’t earn it, people who will keep voting de Blasio into office in response to his political bribery. The gig is up. The judge in the case tossed it out yesterday, saying court is not the place for these kinds of charades…
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