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The Fossil Fuel Echo Chamber says we need more natural gas pipelines in New England



The recent disaster in Newport, during which thousands of people lost their heat during a potentially deadly cold snap due to National Grid having problems with their natural gas pipelines, has generated a lot of digital ink on the need for more pipelines and more fracked gas. These stories, backed with research from fossil fuel lobbyists and the companies that stand to profit from addicting our region to another hundred years of unrelenting climate change and pollution, are a concerted effort to create a right-wing Fossil Fuel Echo Chamber with the intention to create fear in the minds of the general public and our elected leaders that without the largess of fossil fuel profiteers, we are all heading back to the stone age.

Virtually every elected official in Rhode Island receives a New England Energy Update from 1 Davol Square, Suite 300, Providence, on a weekly basis. Titled “New England Energy News,” the email provides plenty of links to business media dedicated to the idea that the solution to high energy costs and the ever growing risks of climate change is yet more investment in fracked gas.

In true disaster capitalist fashion New England Energy News sent out a “Special Edition” entitled, “When You Don’t Build Enough Natural Gas Pipelines” which began:

“Last week’s gas outage in Newport, R.I. highlighted the need for a more robust natural gas pipeline system. With cold weather descending upon New England, multiple publications covered how the lack of pipeline infrastructure has negative economic and environmental impacts on the entire region. There are also rising concerns about reliability of the electric system during cold winter days when the demand for gas for both heating and electricity generation are high.”

The newsletter then provided a series of links to three articles in Forbes, one article on Yahoo Finance and a local editorial from the Providence Journal‘s Ed Achorn.

Achorn, eternally under the spell of fossil fuel companies, has raised this issue repeatedly over the last few years, yet his words and ideas are just echoing the press releases of the powerful and moneyed fossil fuel lobbying industry. Achorn is a patsy, or a willing accomplice, to the forces that would see our world doomed in service to billionaires. Achorn spreads fear in the hopes that the public will open their pocketbooks and commit to another hundred years of brutally expensive fracked gas infrastructure that will be completely unneeded and dormant in 25 years or less.

Can we please ask a favor?

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The truth is, we don’t need these pipelines. I could go into all the reasons in a long, drawn out way, or I could just let the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) explain it in cartoon form:

For more information, see this piece by Bethany Kwoka.

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Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade. Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading.

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