Ban or Regulate? A Critical Juncture in New York’s Fossil Fuel Regulation
Book title: The Palgrave handbook of managing fossil fuels and energy transitions
In this chapter I examine the political process leading up to the ban on hydraulic fracturing in New York State. I identify the early phase ending with the governor’s decision to update the state’s environmental review guidelines for permitting in 2008 as a critical juncture. In retrospect this was a near miss for the oil and gas industry. The decision changed the rules of the game to one where the opposition to hydraulic fracturing defended status quo and gave grassroot organisations time to mobilize. The case illustrates that political feasibility of restrictive supply-side climate policies, such as banning fossil fuel production, is not something we can defined with a predefined set of variables. Instead political feasibility is created through the political process. Furthermore, I note an increasing use of supply-side policy measures since the ban. This suggests that the decision to ban hydraulic fracturing also marks an acceleration of the state’s transition towards a low-carbon energy economy.