art“The best way to win someone’s trust is to tell the truth; clearly, forcefully, directly” -Stan

An open letter to the residents of the Franklin, Hampshire and Worcester District regarding the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline project:

July 30, 2014

Dear friends,

The Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal that has dominated local media recently is just that – a proposal. Unfortunately, the energy crisis our Commonwealth will face in the coming years is real.

Over the past several months I have participated in many lengthy and thoughtful discussions with a range of energy experts from the private and public sectors, including senior members of environmental organizations and the Patrick administration, in an attempt to understand all of the proposals on the table, including the pipeline and transmission lines from Canada and Maine, and how they might or might not fit into our future energy needs. The goal of these ongoing discussions is to craft viable policies to help our Commonwealth create an energy future that utilizes green and renewable technologies and indigenous sources to the greatest extent possible.

I am an unabashed policy wonk. For those of you who know me personally, that should come as no surprise. One of the things that I have learned is that the state is likely in a position to prevent the Kinder Morgan pipeline from crossing publically-owned protected land in the event that the pipeline proposal is approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. All of the members of the Franklin County legislative delegation are united on this.

I don’t have complete answers yet. What I do know is that the situation is complex and fluid, and unless we take appropriate steps in the near term, especially as approximately 8,300 megawatts of power from fossil and nuclear sources will have gone off-line in the New England region in the next six years, representing approximately 25 percent of all our region’s electric power, our residents, our businesses, our schools, our hospitals, our Commonwealth, could see a tripling of energy costs in the foreseeable future. Experts agree that brownouts and blackouts at peak usage times are likely across our region if those approximately 8,300 megawatts are not replaced.

I issued a challenge to the energy experts I’ve been consulting: What do we need to do to be energy self-sufficient, meaning no pipelines, no transmission lines bringing hydro energy from Canada, no wind energy from Maine, utilizing only green and renewable technologies and indigenous sources, and conservation measures? What will it cost and how quickly can it be phased in to meet current and projected usage?

As I said, I don’t have that information yet, but I will share it when I do, and I would like to enlist the commitment of all Massachusetts residents to do their part to make sure that we have the energy we need.

In the meantime, please know this: I do not want a pipeline running through some of the most beautiful areas of Franklin County. Nor do I want our residents and employers to pay exorbitant energy costs or face brownouts or blackouts because of our failure to act.

But saying “no” to a proposal we don’t want is not enough. We have to show that it is unnecessary.

I want the future to be powered by the greenest, most affordable, most sustainable energy possible. That’s what I’m working for.

Please make no mistake about that.

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