Democrats in the New York State legislature and Governor Cuomo have agreed on a massive climate bill, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (built off the Climate and Community Protection Act), which will deal a fatal blow to affordable energy in the Empire State.
Under Governor Cuomo, New York’s energy policy is a political mess. Largely in pursuit of costly 50-by-30 renewable energy mandates (50% renewable energy by 2030), the state forces consumers and taxpayers to subsidize renewable energy, rams through wind turbine projects in communities that don’t want them, and bails out aging nuclear power plants that even their operators wanted to close.
Cuomo has also blocked multiple natural gas pipelines because… reasons. Natural gas has brought down carbon emissions, yet environmental activists have fought tooth and nail against extraction and any gas infrastructure in the state. Meanwhile, New York City is mostly powered by natural gas, but from Pennsylvania.
The results have New Yorkers paying high energy prices, in February 2019 New Yorkers were paying 30 percent more than the national average.
With Democrats now in complete control of state government, the situation could get even worse.
The initial Climate and Community Protection Act (Senate Bill S7971A and Assembly Bill A8270B) received massive backing from left-wing groups, and it was passed in the Assembly. Now a tweaked bill negotiated in a deal with the Governor has passed both houses.
This measure would impose an 85 percent cut in carbon emissions in the state, compared to 1990 levels. 50 percent is unrealistic, 85 percent is a dangerous and costly for energy producers and manufacturers. The compromise bill will also call for 100 percent renewable energy by 2040.
“Numerous scientists, climate activists, and environmental organizations believe achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions in New York by 2050 seems to be physically impossible” writes Business Council of New York’s Darren Suarez in the Buffalo News.
According to an American Action Forum (AAF) analysis, a 100 percent renewable energy requirement, similar to the federal Green New Deal, is estimated to cost $423.9 billion annually, just to build and maintain the renewable energy capacity. “Merely building and operating the required number of renewable electric power plants would cost more than what Americans pay for electricity today,” AAF’s report states.
This would unfold on a smaller, but no less damaging scale in New York under the CCPA. New Yorkers already struggling to afford the cost of living will have to throw in the towel.
Also, manufacturers produce carbon dioxide in the manufacturing process. The National Association of Manufacturers states that manufacturing makes up nearly 5 percent of the state’s economic output and workforce.
The measure creates a council to develop reports and plans to get the state to those goals. A council that must include “environmental justice” advocates.
The plan includes a prevailing wage standard for projects – a big wink toward big labor. It also means these projects will be as expensive as humanly possible.
Initial bills also included language calling for a low carbon fuel standard buried in it. This policy requires fuel producers to compensate for higher carbon fuels they deliver to the state by either producing lower carbon fuels, or buying credits. California’s low carbon fuel standard will add an estimated 69-cents to the cost of gas by 2030, if not changed.
The Governor’s bill is expected to send less than the 40 percent of revenues earlier bills promised to help disadvantaged communities. The council will have to map out more details on that, it could mean subsidized jobs for an area, or plastering solar panels all over rough neighborhoods.
Hammering New York businesses with a costly, and impossible demand will kill more jobs and growth in the state. The ironic side effect could be that overall carbon emissions go up because businesses with a carbon footprint flee New York’s onerous regulations.