With less than two month until the end of 2013’s legislative session, there once again seems to be a post-budget lull, as was the case in 2012. When so many policy decisions are shoe-horned into the fiscal plan for New York State, non-financial priorities sometimes lose their steam once the budget is complete.

Unshackle Upstate and the New York State business community, however, are continuing to push a legislative platform that can create jobs and economic development in Upstate New York, and a key complete of that platform is the liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage and transportation exemption bill (S1119/A4202). This bill, which has already passed in the Senate, would allow liquefied natural gas use and storage of small quantities, currently banned within NYS, the only state in the nation with such a ban.

Natural gas is not only more cost effective and clean burning than traditional fuels, the physical and chemical characteristics of LNG, such as flammability limit, auto-ignition temperature, vaporization rate and weight, make it no more dangerous, and in many cases less so, than other commonly stored and transported fuels like gasoline, diesel fuel and propane.

Most importantly, this legislation represents the first step in the implementation of infrastructure that will enable large trucking fleets – private and public – to begin the conversion of vehicle fleets to LNG thus, allowing fleet operators the opportunity to reap critical economic and environmental benefits.

Beyond this legislation’s ability to allow for the use of this viable fuel alternative, it will necessitate the dispensing and storage of LNG which will in turn spur the creation of thousands of jobs – from construction jobs and station operator jobs to manufacturing jobs as firms across New York State work to support these newly developed infrastructure needs.

LNG can help spur the Upstate economy almost immediately. The Assembly needs to pass this legislation before the end of session so Gov. Cuomo can sign it into law and infuse a new industry (and jobs!) into Upstate New York.