The clock may have run out on congestion pricing, but there's still time to put an end to Shell's 1.4 square mile, Yankee Stadium size gas project in Long Island Sound. This year's discovery of as much as 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the "super giant" Pennsylvania Marcellus field, 90 miles from New York City (Wall Street Journal 4/3/2008, Penn State) is a reminder that we don't need imported gas from Libya, Qatar and Malaysia. In fact New Yorkers are very lucky to have a choice: A) make do with the gas we have (we have a lot), or B) start a dependency on imported gas from Shell Broadwater.
Choice "A" stands out because embedded in the commitment to work with abundant domestic resources, is the responsibility to conserve. Just as New York City's water consumption is constrained by tangible factors like water levels in New York State reservoirs, energy consumption could be defined by tangible factors like gas levels in the Marcellus field in Pennsylvania. We don't import tankers of water, nor do we need to import tankers of natural gas. In the 1980's Mayor Ed Koch got water conservation rolling by famously telling New Yorkers to pee twice and flush once and "shower with a friend."
Twenty years later, Mayor Bloomberg is taking important steps to make New York City "greener;" at the same time it's an open secret his administration backs Shell Broadwater's plan to abandon domestic natural gas in favor of "diversified" foreign supplies (Smoking Gun). This back room dealing stifles open debate and contradicts the mayor's vigorous and courageous sponsorship of environmental initiatives like congestion pricing.
Congestion pricing trades cost & convenience for environmental benefits. Shell Broadwater trades environmental harm for (uncertain) savings & convenience. It's an embarrassing contradiction which helps explain why the mayor is absent in the Shell Broadwater debate. It's not too late to right this inconsistancy; even though congestion pricing didn't pass, there's still time to say no to Shell Broadwater.Comments