Friday, February 23, 2018

A New Massachusetts ‘Sustainable Energy’ Coalition Is Really a Front for Gas Interests

Despite its green-sounding name, the Mass Coalition for Sustainable Energy represents companies who want to build more natural gas pipelines.

Enbridge (Credit: Peter Power / Reuters) Click to Enlarge.Enbridge (Credit: Peter Power / Reuters) Click to Enlarge.
To the untrained eye, the website for the Mass Coalition for Sustainable Energy looks like just another Massachusetts-based advocacy group.  It’s not clear that the site is actually sponsored by major energy and utility companies seeking to build more gas pipelines in the region.

The members page lists a number of generic-sounding state business groups, including the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, The Business Roundtable and Associated Industries of Massachusetts.  It doesn’t include the group’s other funding members – Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge, and the powerful gas-based utilities Eversource and National Grid.  It’s also not readily apparent that the website is being run by the lobbying firm currently working for Enbridge as it seeks approval for its Atlantic Bridge Project in the state.

Launched earlier this month, the coalition is the latest industry attempt to insert an astroturf campaign into regional battles over energy and pipeline infrastructure.  Despite its green-sounding name, it is mainly advocating for a fossil fuel:  natural gas.

In its first move the coalition sent a letter to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) on Feb. 7 decrying the state’s high energy costs and warning of potential reliability problems in the power system.

Baker, who’s been a staunch supporter of more pipelines as part of what he calls a “combo platter” approach to energy sources, is facing increasing pressure from activists, state legislators and his own attorney general to deny new fossil fuel infrastructure.

Read more at A New Massachusetts ‘Sustainable Energy’ Coalition Is Really a Front for Gas Interests

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