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CT Gas Conversions Fall Short

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Opponents say lack of demand makes new gas pipelines unnecessary. (Monster4711/Wikimedia Commons)
Opponents say lack of demand makes new gas pipelines unnecessary. (Monster4711/Wikimedia Commons)
 By Andrea Sears/Shaine Smith - Producer, Contact
July 18, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. – Gas companies fell far short of their goals to convert Connecticut homes and businesses to natural gas, and now environmentalists want construction of two new pipelines canceled. The state's Comprehensive Energy Strategy could be released later this week.

The 2013 CES called for a big boost in reliance on methane, with ratepayers subsidizing part of the cost of converting thousands of homes and businesses to natural gas.

But Martha Klein, chair of the Connecticut chapter of the Sierra Club, calls that a failed strategy and the companies' own figures indicate that, even after cutting the projected number of conversions by almost half, the goal still wasn't met.

"Now we have the data to show that Connecticut does not have the customers for the natural gas conversions that the state obligated us to subsidize," she says.

Calling gas cleaner and cheaper than oil, the companies used anticipated increases in the demand for natural gas to justify the construction of two new gas pipelines into the state.

But Klein points out that natural gas is more powerful than carbon dioxide as an agent of climate change, and the demand just isn't there.

"The interstate gas pipelines, Kinder Morgan and Enbridge, are completely not needed," she states. "We will not be able to use the gas here. There are not enough customers."

Three new gas-fired power plants are now in the approval process in the state and a fourth is contesting the denial of a permit for construction.

But Klein notes that Connecticut already generates more electricity than it needs. She believes that, rather than promoting natural gas, the state should be developing alternatives that are really clean.

"We should quite simply be converting to increased energy efficiencies and 100 percent renewable energy right now," adds Klein. "There is no reason to delay further."

The Sierra Club has launched a petition campaign urging members of Congress ask that construction of the pipelines be stopped.

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