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Anti-Pipeline Tax Amendment Filed In State Senate

June 5th, 2017 · 2 Comments · Development and Zoning, News and Events

News release from CT Sierra Club & Citizens Campaign for the Environment:

A legislative amendment was filed today to put an end to the Pipeline Tax passed in 2015 planned to fund a new gas pipeline that would be built across Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island and cost all electrical ratepayers a total of over $6.6 billion. Massachusetts has already taken decisive action to halt the pipeline project and prevent its funding through a pipeline tax on consumers.

The amendment, which is expected to be considered by the State Senate, is supported by a bi-partisan group of legislators dedicated to consumer protection and the environment. The amendment is co-sponsored by Senator Gary Holder-Winfield (D-New Haven), and Representative Chris Rosario (D-Bridgeport).

Rep. Rosario stated, “Instead of bowing to the fossil fuel industries like the current federal administration, it is time for Connecticut to advance more renewable energy to drive our current dependence on gas and oil down even further. We are heading in the right direction without new billion dollar pipelines, and we can do even better.”

Martha Klein, Chair of the Connecticut Sierra Club said, “I encourage all legislators to support this amendment and join our effort to protect Connecticut ratepayers and support clean, renewable energy. Connecticut consumers should not be forced to pay for costly pipelines they don’t need and won’t benefit from.”

Louis Burch, spokesman for the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, stated, “The ratepayer Pipeline Tax amounts to little more than a corporate welfare program for wealthy energy companies. Connecticut needs locally generated renewable energy, not more infrastructure for dirty oil and gas. These pipelines shackle our state to dirty fossil fuels and delay progress on meeting Connecticut’s clean energy goals.”

The amendment is supported by a broad coalition of environmental and consumer groups, including the CT Sierra Club, the CT Fund for the Environment, Environment CT, the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, the Connecticut Citizens Action Group and 350 CT. These groups and many others support this amendment because it will save Connecticut ratepayers money and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

Background Information:

This amendment was originally offered as House Bill Number 6546, proposed by Representative Rosario. The intent of the legislation is to repeal the pipeline tax, and force the energy companies to pay for their own infrastructure. The bill was not raised in the Energy and Technology Committee. This amendment seeks to level the playing field wherein gas companies have benefited disproportionately from public subsidies.

A broad coalition of environmental and consumer groups, including the CT Sierra Club and the CT Fund for the Environment, recently released a major study showing conclusively that new natural gas pipelines are not necessary. This pipeline could cost as much as $6.6 billion–more than double the $3.2 billion proponent’s claim because of anticipated cost overruns, operational and maintenance costs, depreciation and return on equity investment.

The study, that was the focus of a Hartford Courant story earlier this year was conducted by Synapse Energy Economics (which conducts rigorous analysis for state and federal agencies as well as environmental groups). It found that New England’s use of natural gas will decrease by 41 percent from 2015 levels by 2030 due to state requirements for energy efficiency, renewable energy and emissions caps. Furthermore, the study said, “even existing gas pipelines may operate under capacity.” A link to this report is provided: www.synapse-energy.com/new-englands-shrinking-need-for-natural-gas

The $6.6 billion Access Northeast Pipeline project to be funded by ratepayers was rejected by the Massachusetts’ highest court and the New Hampshire public utilities regulators. In its unanimous ruling, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court said the pipeline tax would “re-expose ratepayers to the types of financial risks from which the Legislature sought to protect them.”

Link to information on the Massachusetts Supreme Court Decision:
www.masslive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/08/states_highest_court_strikes_d.html

www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/08/17/state-highest-court-rejects-baker-plan-impose-fee-for-gas-pipelines/eQ75Pnt3gnAqz9RiUQGhTP/story.html

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