As 2019 begins, we should reflect on hard lessons learned last year, and how we might do better.
This would be a good year to reduce the Commonwealth’s over-reliance on gas (almost 70 % of our electricity is fueled by gas) and find additional ways to move toward a clean energy future.
And not just because fracked gas is a dirty fossil fuel that accelerates climate change. Our neighbors in Merrimack Valley suffered enormous hardship last fall, as fracked gas explosions caused a tragic death, multiple injuries, destruction, and dislocation for over 8,000 families.
Surprisingly, that doesn’t seem to matter to Eversource and NGrid, who have renewed their push to build unneeded, unwanted and unbelievably expensive gas pipelines through Massachusetts.
As the Globe’s Jon Chesto recently reported: “This may be a strange time to seek support at the State House for expanded pipeline capacity.... But they want to pave the way for legislation that would enable electric ratepayers to be charged” to build new pipelines.
A “strange time,” indeed. Within months of the worst US gas disaster in a decade, right here in Massachusetts, Eversource and NGrid want to shove more gas pipelines down our throats, and want us to pay for them, too.
The adverse health consequences of fracked gas are another reason to fight back. Over 80 local Boards of Health, representing about 60% of Massachusetts residents, have sent letters to Governor Baker that underscore significant health concerns about fracked gas, and the pipelines that carry it here.
Still, the pipeline proponents have returned for new fracked gas pipelines, despite the ruling of the Supreme Judicial Court, the unanimous vote of the State Senate, and opposition by two-thirds of the members of State House of Representatives.
Call it strange timing or wishful thinking. But it isn’t strange when you remember that, as far as the energy companies go, greed is King. They will do anything, say anything, and overlook everything,when they stand to make billions of dollars, without risk, using our money.
We have beaten back these piggish proposals before. But we must be ready for an even tougher fight during the new year and the coming legislative session.
So, keep one hand on your wallet, and help us with the other, to win this fight, once and for all.
With best wishes for a clean, safe and healthy environment in 2019.
Happy New Year!