NELF pro-business advocacy featured in Western Massachusetts’ WWLP-TV22
Region’s fiscal groups focus on energy, taxes
by: By Sam Drysdale- State House News Service
OSTON, Mass. (WWLP)–Business-minded, small government groups from each New England state think it’s critical to “start working together as a region” to address cost of living issues, high energy prices and economic competitiveness.
The groups met at the Hampshire House in Boston on Tuesday to discuss bringing more natural gas to the Northeast states and relying on nuclear energy, rather than wind and solar renewable alternatives, to prevent energy shortages and bring down home heating costs.
“There might be an environmental left movement out there, but there’s a freedom, pro-energy movement forming here in New England as well,” said Mike Stenhouse, founder and CEO of “free-enterprise public policy think tank” Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity.
The advocates said the region is suffering from a natural gas shortage partially caused by shutting down nuclear power plants in favor of other renewable forms of energy and limited gas pipelines that serve New England.
“From the moment the first human being stepped foot in New England… one of their top concerns, if not their number one, is how do we survive the winter?” said Drew Cline of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy. “We have developed the technology to the point that we no longer have to worry about surviving the cold or the extreme heat. We have technology to electrify and heat every home in New England every day. The fact that we’re at risk every single winter of rolling blackouts is not a technological problem, we solved it from a technological standpoint, it is a public policy problem.”
ISO-New England said in December that it does not anticipate calling for controlled power outages this winter and predicts New England should have adequate electricity supplies under mild and moderate weather conditions, while prolonged cold snaps would pose system reliability risks.
Though the winter season has so far been moderate, home heating costs are on the rise in the region and nationally as the price of natural gas has increased worldwide. Rising costs on power bills have jumped 25 percent in each of the last two years, said Nick Murray of the Maine Policy Institute. “This is really not sustainable,” he said.
Gov. Maura Healey said at a visit to UMass Dartmouth last week that high energy costs are being driven by the fossil fuel industry, a notion she often cited on the campaign trail when asked about shutting down a pipeline through Western Massachusetts when she was attorney general.
“There’s a reason that people are paying so much in heating bills and electric bills. It’s because we’ve been hostage to the fossil fuel industry for so long,” Healey said at the Dartmouth event.
Lisa Linowes, executive director at WindAction Group, which focuses on policy issues associated with industrial wind development, said the region’s high energy prices could be attributed partially to a move away from nuclear energy towards other renewable sources such as wind and solar. Linowes, who is also a member of the Save Right Whales Coalition Group, said large offshore wind projects proposed off the coast of Cape Cod would result in “the largest industrialization of our ocean waters.”