While the official demise of the Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal is welcome, the pressure on Beacon Hill to encourage green energy alternatives has increased.
The pipeline project across the Berkshires and much of the state has gone from suspended to officially terminated (Eagle, May 25). The plan was environmentally destructive, burdensome to electricity ratepayers expected to pay the cost, and unnecessary based on the company's acknowledgement that it could not find an adequate number of distributors to make the pipeline financially viable.
The focus now turns to Beacon Hill, which is considering an energy bill focused on green sources. Bringing hydropower down from Canada, which Governor Baker strongly advocates, should be a part of the Massachusetts energy equation. Wind energy must be as well, with the primary focus on offshore wind. Wind power has a role in the Berkshires, as can be seen on some mountain ridges, but offshore wind can generate energy on a far larger scale.
The House has built a solid foundation, but the decision to block Cape Wind from participating in any state program is puzzling given the need for offshore wind power. The state Senate must still weigh in, and Senator Benjamin Downing, a Pittsfield Democrat who chairs the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee, told the State House News Service that the final bill must be more comprehensive than the House's legislation.
As is customary, the Legislature is reaching the end of its session with all manner of bills hanging, including green energy. While passage of green energy legislation this session is desirable, it would be counterproductive to pass a bill that contains gaps or otherwise falls short. Legislation this important to the Berkshires and state must be done right.