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MASS POWER FORWARD COALITION CELEBRATES SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT’S DECISION TO STRIKE DOWN PIPELINE TAX

Mothers Out is a proud partner of the Mass Power Forward coalition and is pleased to share today's joint announcement!


 

Earlier today, the Supreme Judicial Court STRUCK DOWN the so-called “pipeline tax” (ENGIE Gas & LNG LLC v. Department of Public Utilities -- SJC 12051), which would have forced electric ratepayers to subsidize new gas pipelines.

Electric distribution utilities like Eversource Energy and National Grid have sought approval for an unprecedented mechanism that would pass substantial new infrastructure costs onto ratepayers —€” an arrangement which would, in effect, help utilities finance new interstate natural gas pipelines planned by Kinder Morgan and Spectra. The Court determined that a recent Department of Public Utilities ruling allowing utilities to pass along these costs violated the 1997 electric restructuring act, which the legislature had enacted in part to shield ratepayers from bearing investment risks. In this case, Conservation Law Foundation and ENGIE Gas & LNG brought suit against the Department Public Utilities, and both the Attorney General and the court ultimately sided with CLF/ENGIE.

See full decision here: http://www.mass.gov/courts/docs/sjc/reporter-of-decisions/new-opinions/12051.pdf

Mass Power Forward, a statewide coalition of more than 150 environmental, social justice and community groups, businesses, and faith organizations, released the following statement in response:

“Today, the Supreme Court upheld critical laws shaped to protect consumers and combat climate change. The regressive “pipeline tax” approved  by Governor Baker’s Department of Public Utilities would have effectively transferred wealth from ratepayers to large pipeline and utility companies, forcing customers to promote expansion of fossil fuels against their will.

The state legislature came close to banning the “tax” with over 130 elected representatives and senators on record in opposition, and we’re encouraged to see the Supreme Judicial Court seal the deal.

Massachusetts can meet its power needs through use of conservation, clean power, and existing fossil fossil infrastructure while advancing a future powered by 100% renewable energy. In the short-term, doubling down on energy efficiency is the best tool to save money for consumers and reduce energy consumption. Recently signed legislation, An act to promote energy diversity, will bring online large-scale resources like offshore wind that provide power when we need it most and invalidate the need for future investments in fossil fuels.

Proposed pipelines such as the Access Northeast project would also violate our legally-mandated climate policies under the Global Warming Solutions Act. Mass Power Forward will continue to oppose new fossil fuel infrastructure projects, and will continue fighting to ensure that the safety of neighborhoods and communities is put ahead of fossil fuel industry profits.


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