Advocates call on Governor Baker to be a clean energy leader
Governor has yet to take a stand against fracked gas pipelines, and it’s time for a change
For immediate release: September 5, 2018
[Boston, MA]—As Governor Baker heads into election season, advocates are calling on him to take a stand for clean energy and come out against fracked gas pipelines.
Governor Baker has been a proponent of fracked gas despite a growing movement of Massachusetts residents who are calling for a real commitment to clean energy. In recent years, residents in towns and cities across Massachusetts have come together to block major fracked gas projects, like Kinder Morgan’s proposed Northeast Energy Direct pipeline and Enbridge’s Access Northeast pipeline. Last fall, hundreds of residents participated in a months-long sit-in at the Governor’s office, calling on him to take a stand against fossil fuels. This spring, hundreds more rallied at the Statehouse for clean energy legislation.
But Governor Baker still has not come out against fracked gas pipelines. With fossil fuel proposals still on the table, like a compressor station in Weymouth and pipelines proposed in Lowell, Boston’s Back Bay and the Springfield area, advocates are calling for Governor Baker to be a clean energy leader.
“How can we expect to move forward on clean energy when we have a governor who won’t even let go of fossil fuels?” said Claire Miller, Lead Community Organizer and Climate Justice Director at Community Action Works. “Massachusetts is ready for progress and we need Governor Baker to step up and lead.”
“As a small citizen’s group, we battle an energy Goliath. It would be helpful and heartening to know that we have a governor who not only understands our fight, but actively participates in it,” said Alice Arena of the Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station from Weymouth. “Damning our community and our children to a life of worsening climate is not a political strategy that will work for much longer.”
“Tennessee Gas Pipeline is still finishing up their Sandisfield/Agawam gas pipeline expansion project put in service last year, and now they are back proposing expansions in Agawam and West Springfield to bring more gas to Holyoke and Northampton,” said Cathy Kristofferson of the Massachusetts PipeLine Awareness Network (MassPLAN). “Climate change demands that we stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure designed to last decades into the future.”
While a law passed by the House and Senate this July will boost renewable energy in the state, advocates say that the law falls far short of the progress needed. As Massachusetts faces more severe storms and flooding due to a changing climate, advocates are calling on Governor Baker to make Massachusetts a clean energy leader and set an example for other states to follow.
“Governor Baker has said he’ll take a backseat to no one on clean energy,” said Beth Rodio, communications director for No Sharon Gas Pipeline, “but state after state is racing ahead, putting in meaningful policies, while we putter along, having only 2% increases in the RPS and counting biofuel as clean energy. It’s clear he knows people in Massachusetts want clean energy, so now we want to see him put actions behind those words.”
“Governor Baker has had ample opportunity to envision a clean energy future, but has not disavowed polluting resources such as nuclear energy, trash incineration, and fracked gas pipelines,” said Vick Mohanka, Clean Energy Organizer for Clean Water Action. “Not taking action now will continue to burden the communities in our state that can least afford it.”
“Governor Baker has claimed leadership on climate and renewable energy, and at the same time he has advocated for new fossil fuel projects,” said Alan Palm, Director of Organizing at 350 Mass for a Better Future. “This stance is hypocritical, and it is a far cry from the bold leadership we need in the face of a federal assault on climate policies.”
Community Action Works works side-by-side with communities to prevent or clean up pollution in New England. Learn more at www.communityactionworks.org.
Mass Power Forward is a coalition of environmental leaders, community development organizations, clean energy businesses, faith groups, neighborhood health and safety advocates, and Massachusetts families fighting for clean, affordable, reliable energy and a thriving economy. Learn more at www.mapowerforward.com.