In Tompkins County’s Comprehensive Plan and draft Energy Road Map, our legislators stated their goals for energy use and pollution reduction. They are to “transition away from natural gas” and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
Putting aside that the Paris Climate Conference made clear these goals are too little, too late, the key local truth is that the use the 700,000 additional cubic feet of methane per hour to be pumped into the county through NYSEG/Iberdrola’s proposed West Dryden Road Gas Pipe will defeat every goal in the plan and the road map.
We won’t “transition away from natural gas.” We’ll do the opposite, and our fossil fuel dependency will increase by 700,000 cubic feet per hour for the probable 50-year life of the pipe.
Greenhouse gas emissions will increase (not decrease) by as much as 50 percent.
Air pollution will increase, not decrease.
The air pollution will worsen (not improve) public health.
The extra gas burned will increase (not decrease) global warming.
Money paid for the methane won’t stay here. It will go to Spain-based Iberdrola.
Installing and operating the pipe will be done by outside “experts,” so there won’t be any significant increase in permanent, local jobs.
Our community-wide ability to respond to global warming will be worse, not better.
In short, to be on the side of the pipe is to be on the side of global warming and against every goal we have as a community for responding proactively to the climate change that we have seen so recently all around us.
And, our legislators can do more. They can pass a resolution against any increased use of fossil fuels and any expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in the county, as well as set more urgent greenhouse gas emission/fossil fuel use reduction goals.
The arc of history bends in the direction that we push it.
Joseph M. Wilson is a Town of Dryden resident.