This week, Maine attorney Anthony Buxton launched a new group, "Coalition to Lower Energy Costs." Buxton, general counsel and spokesman for the coalition, is a registered energy industry lobbyist in Maine, where he represents Kinder Morgan's Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (TGP).
Vince Premus is a Massachusetts resident and founding member of Stop the Northeast Energy Direct (StopNED), a regional grassroots coalition to stop the construction of TGP's high-pressure, natural gas pipeline that would cut a swath through private property and protected land in some 40 communities across the Commonwealth.
"Buxton's stated goal is an admirable one, which we should all strive to achieve," said Premus. "What he doesn't explicitly say is that their plan to lower electricity costs is predicated on stealing people's land, contaminating municipal water supplies, and endangering the health and safety of families throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."
Buxton's new coalition appears to be primarily made up of industrial energy consumers and not residential consumers. Larry Chretien, executive director of Mass Energy Consumers Alliance, said, "If that group is really interested in reducing costs, rather than selling more natural gas, then they should get on the bandwagon for energy efficiency, which costs much less than natural gas, with or without a pipeline.
"This pipeline could actually cause energy costs to rise because export of natural gas, which appears to be the major motivation behind many proposed pipeline projects throughout the Northeast, would subject U.S. wholesale gas purchasers to competition in global markets, where prices are 2-5 times higher," said Kathryn Eiseman, director of the Massachusetts PipeLine Awareness Network (MassPLAN), a statewide coalition of organizations opposed to Kinder Morgan's proposed pipeline expansion.
MassPLAN and StopNED are also working to ensure that ISO-New England, the nonprofit entity that manages the region's power grid, is moving New England toward power generation that does not threaten our climate or communities.
Ken Hartlage, president of Nashoba Conservation Trust, said, "Despite calling the region's dependency on natural gas a strategic risk, ISO-New England persists in supporting additional gas-fueled power generation. We already get about half of our electricity from gas. ISO-New England should be promoting stronger measures to diminish our reliance on it."
Stop the Northeast Energy Direct (StopNED)