My Turn/Nestel: Solar is the answer

Support for ending reliance on fossil fuels extends across state

  • NESTEL

  • A portion of the solar array on the capped Greenfield land fill off of Wisdom Way. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

Published: 5/16/2016 5:01:29 PM

Many thanks to The Recorder for your editorial of May 6 titled “Focus Should be on Efficient Energy.” I couldn’t agree with you more!

I attended — along with hundreds from all over the state, including a full busload from central and western Massachusetts — the May 3 Statehouse Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate change hearing chaired by Sen. Marc Pacheco.

Over 200 of us filled the hearing room to beyond capacity standing along the walls or even sitting on the floor. Although Chairman Pacheco had requested that we did not applaud throughout the hearing, toward the end of the four hour hearing, when he said he did not want to see any more incentives for fossil fuel infrastructure in Massachusetts, and wants not only to “double down” on efficiency and renewables, but to “quadruple down,” we spontaneously broke into robust applause.

It is clear that the large majority of people throughout Massachusetts do not want to see more fossil fuels relied upon for our energy needs. Rebecca Tepper, the energy division chief with the office of the Attorney General Maura Healey cited a study commissioned by the attorney general’s office which found no new pipeline capacity is needed to ensure grid reliability. In fact, she said adding pipelines would prevent the state from meeting its greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Matthew Beaton, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs in the Baker administration, was alone in his support of more gas pipelines. Beaton said the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker supports increasing natural gas pipeline capacity even if lawmakers approve importing large amounts of hydro to feed the energy grid.

Before the hearing, several of us went to the offices of Gov. Baker and Sen. Rosenberg. We actually caught both of them as they were about to leave for lunch.

Gov. Baker said before stepping into the elevator outside his office that he favored increasing both natural gas and Canadian Hydropower.

Sen. Rosenberg seemed both surprised and glad to see us and spoke with us for several minutes before leaving for lunch. He told us he favored renewable energy and conservation in the state. As noted in the May 7 weekend edition of The Recorder, he told us he opposes imposing a tariff on electricity customers to pay for building gas pipelines. He also says he would oppose taking any land out of Article 97 conserved parcels for a pipeline to go through.

I would add that the governor needs to expedite solar in the state by significantly raising the solar caps. Hundreds of solar applications are on hold due to a set of arbitrary solar caps. The sooner we implement solar, the less dependent we are on dirty, dangerous fossil fuels.

Hattie Nestel, a peace activist, lives in Athol.


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