Last Thursday, Mayor Bloomberg touted New York City’s success at closing in on their Clean Heat Act’s air quality goals. New York City now has the cleanest air it has had in more than 50 years! CO2 emissions are down 69 percent! Good news for the city folk’s health and well-being — especially those with asthma.
In a separate press release, the state Department of Environmental Conservation embraced the benefits of utilizing natural gas made possible by unlocking shale elsewhere. DEC Commissioner Martens said that “Construction of new fueling facilities (natural gas) across the state will build on Gov. Cuomo’s agenda to augment the economy and create good-paying jobs for New Yorkers.”
The health and economic benefits are being felt beyond shale country. In the Buffalo area, two steel pipe companies are setting up shop (Welded Steel and Alita USA) to support gas development. People who live in those communities, who were haunted by the ghosts of manufacturing (empty warehouses and abandoned factories), understand what this means. The lights are coming back on.
Meanwhile local opponents still focused on bringing an end to hydraulic fracturing in New York and beyond, miss the larger newsworthy point — hydraulic fracturing is reviving economies and widely improving health. The expansion of an industrial economy and the jobs it brings is somehow disconcerting to them. Their response is to ban any activity that heralds energy development including wind farms, gas wells, transmission lines and pipelines.
Challenges and risks to energy development exist but so does innovation. Technology development is a process that can always be improved upon — no matter which energy you believe in — be it wind, solar, gas or biofuels.