With a blackout in Manhattan last week we got a taste of the future. Namely terrible energy policy from politicians who then blame the victims while insisting that they themselves have done nothing wrong. Specifically here New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who attacked the Con Edison gas and electric utility for playing “Russian roulette” and threatened to shut it down. In fact, as Robert Bryce argues, it is he who has been jeopardizing the supply.
Cuomo’s administration is shutting down the Indian Point nuclear plant because like radioactivity is bad, man. There goes ¼ of the Big Apple’s power supply, and about the most reliable quarter. Even though the New York Independent System Operator has repeatedly warned of the consequences. But the governor has been calling for it since 2011 and now he’s getting his wish. So are his constituents.
Well, if not nuclear, then how about not natural gas either? The New York state government has repeatedly blocked new pipelines even as electricity produced from gas in the state has almost doubled. And don’t look for relief, because the governor has accepted the Climate and Community Protection Act that mandates 70% generation from renewables by 2030 and 100% carbon-free by 2040. Just not nuclear because, again, no nukes because no nukes. Whatever this plan might achieve, community protection isn’t on the list, as Manhattanites got a grim foretaste last week.
It would be bad enough on its merits. But to have Cuomo then start yelling at others for taking crazy risks with the state power supply is incandescent hypocrisy.
Likewise, places like Berkeley, California are preventing people from hooking up to natural gas. It’s trendy. But it has real-world consequences and they aren’t pretty. For instance, 74 American medical and public health groups issued a “U.S. Call to Action” in June calling for an end to hydrocarbon fuels. But wait until they get a blackout at a hospital and see how they like it. Or air conditioning that goes off during a heat wave.
It won’t be pretty. But nothing is uglier than a politician causing a problem and then screeching threats about whoever caused it. Buy this man a mirror.