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National Grid Gas Nightmare: $92 Million Redevelopment Held Up In Nassau County

WESTBURY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - We've covered the pipeline pawns for months.

They're homeowners and small business owners caught in a National Grid moratorium, unable to hook up natural gas.

Now, mega malls are feeling the crunch.

There was a serious warning from the Long Island business community Thursday.

The prominent, recognizable mall formerly known as Fortunoff's: The Source sits mostly empty on Old Country Road in Nassau County's hub.

"You can see the space behind you, we anticipate and envision a restaurant row along Old Country Road, and we are waiting, we are stalled and waiting," said David Ackerman for the Samanea New York Market.

Denial of energy hookups, tenants and builders claim, is harming thousands of homes and small businesses in Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island.

The standoff continues over construction of a new 24 mile natural gas pipeline into the region.

For months, CBS2 has reported on the pipeline pawns caught in a natural gas shortage they allege was manipulated by National Grid.

Homeowners and business owners have slammed National Grid for imposing a moratorium and denying hook-ups to new customers because of supply problems.

CBS2's Marcia Kramer has been on the forefront, demanding answers from National Grid and getting action from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who prodded the utility to restore service to 1,157 customers with inactive accounts.

That leaves tens of thousands more still waiting.

"Every day it continues is thousands of people who don't have homes on Long Island and millions of dollars of economic development work that is not happening," said Mitch Pally of the Long Island Builders Institute.

The Association For A Better Long Island fired off a letter demanding an investigation of New York's Public Service Commission to determine how the shortage came about and why it wasn't addressed earlier.

"A top to bottom review to find out how we ended up in a 170 day energy crisis and to prevent this from happening in the future," said Kyle Strober of the Associaion For A Better Long Island.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and New York Department of Environmental Conservation must approve or deny the water permit application for the underground pipeline by the end of November.

It could still take many more months to resolve.

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