With arrogance born of always getting their way, the corporations behind the Access Northeast fracked gas pipeline are pushing their proposal once again – this time in apparent disregard of the catastrophic gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley.
The Canadian pipeline company, Enbridge, recently petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a pipeline permit extension and hired a former Ways and Means chair to lobby our State Legislature. The big business coalition formed to advocate for the pipeline just added several new regional Chambers of Commerce as members.
And the Boston Business Journal published another falsehood-laden, op-ed, this one from the head of the US Natural Gas Association, saying:
”That’s because decision-makers have made the avoidable mistake of bowing to pressure from activists who want to block new natural gas projects.
“Since 2016, two major pieces of infrastructure that would have directly benefitted Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire have been cancelled due to unnecessary lawsuits and political pressure…”
These are purposeful distortions. Activists and political pressure didn’t block these pipelines — the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court did, unanimously finding that the proponents’ unprecedented financing scheme (a.k.a. the “pipeline tax”) violated MA law, because it would have forced electric ratepayers to pay for gas pipelines.
Without other people’s money, and with no new contracts to buy the gas, investors decided to pull the $6.6 billion plug.
The op-ed fails to mention that gigantic $6.6 billion price tag. And it only vaguely refers to future hope for resurrection of the pipeline tax:
“New England’s leaders need to create an operating environment that welcomes new infrastructure, just as other regions have done.”
What they mean is an environment in which ratepayers simply roll over for an unnecessary $6.6. billion rate increase.
Reasonable observers might think the Merrimack Valley tragedy should have ended the pipeline profiteers’ fantasy. But $6.6 billion of other people’s money (ours) on which you get a guaranteed 11% rate of return, trumps reason any day -- if you are a desperate fossil fuel company facing a near-term transition to safe, cheap, clean renewable energy.
So, we’re back at it, and determined to prevail once again. If you’d like to help us fight the pipeline profiteers in the upcoming legislative session, click here for continued updates and action alerts.
Best wishes for a clean, healthy and safe environment. (Although wishing isn’t enough.)