Coalition sends letter to Howard Zemsky

September 5, 2017

Howard Zemsky
President and CEO
Empire State Development
633 3rd Ave, 37th Floor
New York, NY 10017-6706

Dear: Mr. Zemsky

As the state’s chief economic development officer charged to “promote a vigorous and growing state economy, encourage business investment and job creation, and support diverse, prosperous local economies across New York State,” you no doubt share our concern about the negative economic impacts of recent decision-making surrounding pipeline construction throughout our state.

Just last week the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issued a perplexing conditional denial of the proposed Valley Lateral pipeline project. The decision is undergoing legal review, and we are hopeful it will be reversed. What cannot be reversed is the fact that this decision follows in a long line of similar rulings which are severely hampering New York State’s ability to grow and attract new businesses.

But don’t take our word for it. Last month the Wall Street Journal wrote a scathing editorial, “Cuomo’s Natural Gas Blockade: New York’s Governor is raising energy costs for millions of Americans.” In it, the Journal’s editors said:

“Energy costs in the Northeast are already the highest in the nation outside of Alaska and Hawaii in part due to the shortage of natural gas. Northeast residents pay 29% more for natural gas and 44% more for electricity than the U.S. average, according to a recent study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Industrial users in the Northeast pay twice as much for natural gas and 62% more for electricity.

Electricity and natural gas constitute many manufacturers’ biggest costs, which in part explains why so many are fleeing the Northeast. Since 2010 manufacturing economic output has increased by 1.5% in the Great Lakes region while shrinking 0.7% in New England and 2.4% in New York.”

By changing the standards for pipeline development, and impeding the use of clean and affordable natural gas, the state and the activists who support the policies, are in fact causing more harm to the environment by driving businesses to state’s which are less environmentally-conscious than our own.

With establishing inconsistent rules and standards for evaluating energy infrastructure, New York has established road blocks to growing our economy. According to a recent New York Public Service Commission (PSC) order natural gas “act(s) as a catalyst for economic growth by attracting businesses to New York. Individuals or corporations considering locating or expanding business in New York will contemplate the availability of gas infrastructure. If infrastructure is not available, those businesses, and the jobs associated with them, may not choose New York. [NY PSC, 6/15/16]

As the head of ESD we urge you to fulfill your mission and be the voice of reason within state government. New York has many of the tools necessary to not only succeed, but thrive in the 21st Century, but if standards shift like sands and infrastructure cannot be built we will irreparably harm the economy of New York State.


The New Yorkers for Affordable Energy coalition (