A recent editorial by NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, published in the New York Times and The Washingtom Post, claims, as so many others have attempted to, what a great boon fracking will be, adding, "In the Northeast alone, fracking has helped stimulate major infrastructure investments that will soon bring the first new interstate natural-gas pipeline to New York City in decades." That'd be the Spectra pipeline he's touting. At this point, even we'd find it tiresome to repeat the well-documented environmental, economic, and health arguments against fracking. Instead, we'll refer the uninitiated to the website of our friends at United for Action. We'll let the Mayor hang himself on his absurd argument that it'd be perfectly safe to frack upstate and everywhere else on this planet, just not in our own watershed. We'll leave off the fact that a pipeline like Spectra puts the major economic engine that is the West Village and the High Line at risk. We'll stick to addressing The Mayor's high regard for major infrastructure investments.
If only. Why should this city invest in expensive infrastructure for the fossil fuels of the LAST century, when we could be investing more efficient renewable infrastructure with a "forever" return on investment? How long will it take before New York wakes up and realizes it's been left in the dust by our neighbors? New Jersey (yes, New Jersey!) now has more solar than–not just than us–more solar than California! In Massachusetts, in the past two years alone, solar energy capacity has more than doubled to 105 megawatts. That can power at least 15,750 homes, and has created about 14,000 jobs. And how 'bout those jobs? The solar energy industry was the fastest-growing industry in the U.S. in 2010, creating jobs 10 times faster than the U.S. economy as a whole.
So, what part of "bad choices" doesn't Mayor Bloomberg understand?
Even Forbes magazine notes that "the new economics of solar power apparently caught decision-makers flat-footed"–perhaps even the nimble Mayor Bloomberg. "Many decision-makers have yet to catch up with the improvements in the economics of solar power that have resulted from recent PV technology cost and price reductions."
If decisions about gas pipelines were actually made democratically, if communities had other options to voice our opinions besides lawsuits, would any of us have voted for the Spectra pipeline, or the Rockaway pipeline, or the Constitution pipeline, if we knew we could have renewables instead?