A recent post congratulated our RI Governor Linc Chafee, who won an award for “exceptional destruction” and “his support of the Spectra fracked gas pipeline expansion and the natural gas industry as a whole.” NOPE, the grass roots-Green party coalition to stop natural gas pipeline expansion, seems to have been onto something in its act of gubernatorial recognition.
Let’s see what happened since. Let sunlight disinfect!
CLF, the Conservation Law Foundation, published documents obtained by means of a Freedom of Information Act request. The documents show that the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE) and the representatives of the NE governors have tried hard to avoid a transparent process and have put in place a massive infrastructure initiative that gambles not only with tax payer funds but with the global climate in its totality. The following sums it all up:
In January, the New England Governors announced a regional infrastructure plan to finance new gas pipelines and electric transmission lines with billions of dollars in funding from residents and businesses. Documents obtained by CLF through public records requests show:
- Details worked out “behind closed doors.” The states and the agency in charge of implementing the Governors’ plan – the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE) – are deciding on the elements, scale, and costs of the plan in secret and have repeatedly shielded technical and legal analysis regarding the plan from public scrutiny.
- Self-interested industry insiders shaping the plan outside public view. NESCOE and state representatives have been and are currently working out many of the most important details of the plan in private discussions with gas pipeline companies and the gas and electric utilities that would earn billions from the plan. The states are using talking points directly from industry and allowing electric and gas utilities to help define their roles as middlemen who stand to profit from the plan .
- Ignoring smaller , more affordable solutions. Despite public statements to the contrary, NESCOE and the states agree in private that they “ are not looking for market adjustments as alternatives to our current infrastructure investment path” that could be far less costly. According to the executive in charge of the region’s electric grid, the point of the plan is to use public money to “ overbuild ” gas pipeline.
- NESCOE claims that it is not subject to public records laws and is refusing to provide any documents to CLF. Several states also are withholding their documents about the plan. CLF is considering legal action to force compliance and bring these document to light.