By Marissa LaFave
Copy of a recent ‘Letter to the Editor’ in the Saturday, April 25th, 2015 edition of the Boston Globe.
RISING DEMAND for energy in the Northeast has led to intense debates about the direction of the region’s energy policy. Governor Charlie Baker wants to expand the supply of natural gas and increase the importation of hydroelectricity. (“Baker signals support for expanded pipeline,” Business, April 23). Neither should be the top priority.
As a Globe editorial recently acknowledged, natural gas is far from being a solution to our energy crisis (“New England’s energy brokers must look beyond natural gas,” April 13). Natural gas projects are slow to be built, expensive, and environmentally harmful. They are a short-term approach to a long-term problem. Expanding the use and availability of natural gas would reduce incentives to invest sustainable, long-term sources of renewable energy.
Yet not all renewable energy is beneficial. Both Baker and your editorial are in favor of increasing the use of Canadian hydropower, even though this would crowd out local clean energy technology and mainly create jobs out of the country. Importing hydropower would increase our reliance on energy from foreign sources, making us more vulnerable to interruptions in supply. Constructing the infrastructure to send this electricity southward would cause environmental damage in Canada and New England.
The expansion of natural gas supplies and the importation of hydropower would exacerbate, rather than address, the issues underlying our grim energy situation: our overdependence on and overuse of environmentally damaging energy sources. We should instead focus on decreasing energy demand and increasing the use of local renewable energy — actions that would benefit our local economy and help mitigate climate change.
Marissa Studies Environmental Analysis and Policy at Boston University and is an intern at Climate Action Business Association for Spring 2015.