If U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney gets her way, New York will be forced to lift a ban on a form of natural gas drilling or risk losing access to federal funding to support renewable energy projects.
Tenney, R-New Hartford, introduced a bill titled “The American Energy is Global Security Act.” The bill would prevent states that ban hydraulic fracturing from receiving funds through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program.
New York banned hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydrofracking, in 2015. The ban was codified into state law in 2020.
Proponents of the ban believed that the environmental costs of drilling would outweigh the economic benefits. But hydrofracking backers think it was a major blow to parts of upstate New York, namely the Southern Tier, that could have experienced an uptick in economic activity and jobs.
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Tenney believes that New York should tap into the Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale formations that contain natural gas — a move that “could power our state with clean energy for decades,” she said.
“As Americans struggle with record-high costs due to Joe Biden and Kathy Hochul’s energy and economic illiteracy, it is time we take actions to reverse this disaster and restore our nation’s energy independence,” she said. “Americans need clean energy at lower costs now, and delivering on this commitment can and should start right here in New York.”
While carbon emissions from natural gas are lower compared to oil and coal, it is still a fossil fuel. One of the goals of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program is to reduce the usage of fossil fuels. The infrastructure law signed by Biden in 2021 contained $550 million for the program.
Tenney’s bill is unlikely to advance in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. But she won praise from the Marcellus Shale Coalition, which advocates for hydrofracking in the Southern Tier. The group’s president, David Callahan, said “it is irrefutable that lives are improved by this domestic resource, and we should do everything in our power to ensure and promote its continued development for years to come.”
Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.