ALBANY—Andrew Cuomo has routinely stalled politically difficult decisions relating to energy and the environment, producing a political bottleneck that has frustrated both industry boosters and environmental activists.
The best-known example of Cuomo's application of the stall tactic concerns whether to permit or ban fracking, which the governor has avoided making a decision on by citing an ongoing impact study by the state health department.
But the administration has now taken a similar tack on a number of other controversial projects, staying silent rather than approving or blocking them, including a major proposed propane storage project in the Finger Lakes, the construction of new liquefied natural gas storage areas across the state and a crude-oil heating facility at the Port of Albany. The projects have collectively received tens of thousands of public comments, both for and against.
“Politically it seems to be a fairly tried-and-true strategy, especially if you have presidential ambitions—you don't make decisions that can come back to haunt you,” said David Spence, an energy regulation expert at the University of Texas' McCombs...