New York State government has made promoting renewable energy one of its highest priorities – setting aggressive renewable energy goals, changing our regulatory structure to incorporate more renewable energy, and even building a $750 million solar panel factory in Buffalo. And the state has effectively banned any natural gas development in the state, and rejected a proposed natural gas pipeline that would have helped bring out of state gas to people who are looking to take advantage of this low cost energy source.

But the staff of the state’s Public Service Commission sees a need for more natural gas service in the state, and expects natural gas to be an important part of the state’s energy mix for the foreseeable future.

In a recent PSC filing, the PSC’s staff found that “natural gas expansion is essential to the state’s business climate,” and that it can also act as a catalyst for economic growth by attracting businesses to New York.” And they also note that “low cost gas can help struggling residential customers struggling to pay bills.”

So why has New York banned natural gas development, and impeded development of natural infrastructure?