BOSTON — State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier is powering efforts for a more diverse and renewable fuel-based omnibus energy bill than the one being debated on Beacon Hill.
The Pittsfield Democrat has co-authored a letter signed by 56 representatives — including all four members of the Berkshire delegation — that calls for the commonwealth to emphasize, solar, wind and other green energy sources over natural gas and other fossil fuels.
"The decisions we make this spring will have a major impact on where our energy comes from for the next few decades," Farley-Bouvier said in a prepared statement. "We have the opportunity to create local jobs and create healthier communities, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, so we are seeking the forthcoming legislation to prioritize clean energy."
The lawmakers want the House leadership to release a bill that also won't spend taxpayer dollars on natural gas pipeline projects. They instead want pipeline owners to fix the tens of thousands of leaks in their existing delivery systems, which would save consumers more than $90 million a year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent, according to the legislators.
"We have heard loudly and clearly from our constituents on the issue of pipeline funding." Farley-Bouvier stated. "To have ratepayers pay for these infrastructure investment would be unprecedented. The investors who, in the end, will be profiting, should absolutely be the ones on the hook."
Recently, opponents of Kinder Morgan's Northeast pipeline plan to traverse the Berkshires claimed victory after the energy giant suspended work on the project. Kinder Morgan representatives said they couldn't line up enough natural gas providers to make it profitable.
The lawmakers said they want alternative energy sources that make sense economically and environmentally, such as meaningful offshore wind energy development and hydropower purchased from Canada coupled with environmentally sensitive transmission lines and related infrastructure.
"We can and we must balance the need for reliable energy at an affordable price for both our residents and our commercial customers, while be extremely mindful of the impact our energy policy has on our environment," Farley-Bouvier said.
Contact Dick Lindsay at 413 496-6233.