NEW YORK, NY– NYC Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. (D-36 Brooklyn) released the following statement today following news of National Grid ending the natural gas moratorium:

“National Grid serves 1.2 million customers in Brooklyn, Staten Island, and parts of Queens, and they employ about 2,000 individuals. They threw the lives and livelihoods of so many into chaos when they hastily announced a natural gas moratorium that was not backed up by reports or formal data.

I met with the President of National Grid to explain the plight of residents and business owners who were confused and felt helpless in the face of this moratorium. My staff had many conversations with National Grid staff to provide case management and help get the gas turned back on where possible.

This was completely unacceptable, and I commend the leadership of Governor Cuomo for helping get residents of my community, and in the service area, natural gas access.

This is a huge win for Brooklyn and the small businesses in my district that were not able to open because they could not get a natural gas hookup, and could not afford the tremendous capital costs associated with going electric.

According to the New York Times, the utility company has agreed to pay $36 million in penalties, with $7 million meant to directly compensate people affected by the moratorium.

As we move toward a clean energy future, New York residents will no longer be held hostage by the whims of a utility company. This was an abuse of power, and National Grid’s attempt to use the residents of New York as leverage in the fight for a pipeline was completely inappropriate.

The fact is, if we build the pipeline, it will handcuff us to a fossil fuel future. We cannot build the pipeline and decommission it when the renewable energy infrastructure can meet the demand of New York City. The financing for the pipeline goes about 40-50 years, and instead, we should be making big investments that make our borough and city more energy independent, and reduces the environmental impact.”