Mayor Michael Bloomberg has released a study finding that more natural gas is critical for the city to improve air quality and public health.
Bloomberg's announcement on Monday came on the heels of a Washington Post opinion piece in which he expressed support for expanded natural gas drilling.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to decide soon whether to allow shale gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing when the Department of Environmental Conservation completes a four-year environmental review.
Bloomberg said a study by government services contractor ICF International Inc. found the metropolitan region's natural gas system is operating near its limits and expansion was needed to meet rising demand.
Bloomberg has directed city buildings to phase out heavy heating oil to reduce soot pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.