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Bloomberg Backs New Gas Infrastructure, Supports 'Responsible' Fracking

Study released Monday finds city's network of gas lines operating at capacity.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg waded into with the release of a new report Monday that found that the city would benefit from an upgrade to its network of gas lines in the form of cleaner air and energy cost savings.

"Natural gas is a low-cost, low-emissions fuel that makes good economic and environmental sense," Bloomberg said. "This study confirms its importance to New York City’s reliable, clean energy future and demonstrates that with responsible, well-regulated development, we can make the investments that both improve our air quality and save lives."

The study conducted by ICF International found the city's aging network of pipeline and gas mains operating at near peak capacity—putting a plan to convert the approximately 10,000 structures still using "heavy" heating oil to natural gas in jeopardy.

Proposed key investments to the city's natural gas infrastructure include a new pipeline from New Jersey ending in the Chelsea section of Manhattan by Houston-based Spectra Energy—a project Bloomberg supports, but fracking opponents say will give energy companies new incentive to use the toxic chemical-laden extraction process in the city's watershed in upstate New York.

In addition to beefing up the city's infrastructure, Bloomberg advocated for the "safe development" of domestic natural gas supplies, including through hydrofracking, in order to reduce emissions 30 percent by 2030.

"... Fracking for natural gas can be as good for our environment as it is for our economy and our wallets, but only if done responsibly," Bloomberg said.

in Queens and Brooklyn recently attracted the ire of 8th Congressional District Green Party candidate Colin Beavan, who called for a radically different energy policy that did not rely on hydrofracked natural gas.

However, a spokesman for the company building the pipeline said it would be transporting fuel "from a wide variety of sources," such as domestically produced shale gas and traditionally harvested fuel from the Gulf of Mexico and Canada.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a plan earlier this year that would allow hydrofracking in certain economically disadvantaged upstate counties. He is expected to make a final decision on lifting the state's moratorium on the gas-extraction process in the coming weeks.

Do you agree with the mayor on hydrofracking? Let us know in the comments.

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