There is a constant struggle to balance the need for innovation and the expense of change. The state revisits this theme as it weighs options in requiring new construction to be entirely electric. The argument is that electricity continues to grow as a renewable resource, and it will help reduce the carbon emission footprint for the city, state and planet in the coming decades. The shift will affect the types of cars New Yorkers drive and how they heat and power their homes.
A coalition of the gas industry and labor officials has quickly gone on the offensive, pointing out the expense of the change in energy creation and distribution would impact customer bills and disrupt the New York economy.
“Almost two-thirds of New Yorkers use natural gas in their homes, but the vast majority of them have no idea that many elected officials in Albany are looking to take it away from them,” said Michelle Hook, the executive director of the group New Yorkers for Affordable Energy, a trade group. “And according to recent projections, the proposed gas ban could send their energy bills through the roof.”
On the other hand, advocates argue that the mandate doesn’t go far enough.
“The climate crisis is already devastating our communities with deadly floods and extreme heat, but addressing this accelerating crisis is also an opportunity to create good jobs and cut air pollution, which especially benefits our most vulnerable communities,” said Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Ana Maria Archila. “This is a ‘do-now’ basic step that must be enacted this session. We need leaders with a moral compass and a record, not those who let big-money corporate interests dictate their stances.”
Lawmakers in Albany took testimony on May 12, 2022, on the issue from environmental organizations that call for the transition to begin in 2024. The change would fall in line with benchmarks set by laws already in place to reverse or reduce the impact of climate change by cutting 85% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
This debate is far from over with the potential of litigation in the courts or other legal actions, likely involving broad coalitions in the energy industry, construction companies, developers, and others with a vested interest. It is also an election year, which means it will be a hot-button issue in some communities around the state. Watch this space for updates on this critical issue.