Environmental Group Challenges New England's Energy Policy Coordination

Mar 25, 2014

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An environmental advocacy group is challenging how energy policy is coordinated by New England's six governors. The Conservation Law Foundation has submitted public records requests to the region's six states.

The Conservation Law Foundation filed freedom of information requests for a range of documents.

Seth Kaplan of the Conservation Law Foundation said that since the six New England governors announced in December that they would coordinate their plans for the region’s electric grid, those conversations have happened behind closed doors. The public has seen only signs that a plan is being carried out.

"The actual plan," Kaplan said, "and quite honestly, what appears to be a deal amongst the states, is not visible to those who are not actually on the payroll of any of the states, or working for an organization that coordinates amongst the states."

The Boston skyline includes a wind turbine.
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The Conservation Law Foundation filed freedom of information requests for a range of documents involving the states, their cooperative energy committee, federal regulators, and the region's grid operator, ISO-New England. The states asked ISO-New England for help building an electricity transmission system, as well as for help figuring out how to finance the project.

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Dennis Schain, a spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said the department will provide all of the requested documents. He disputes the claim that energy negotiations have been opaque. "This has been an open and transparent process," he said. "It will continue to be so as it moves forward, with opportunities to study proposals, make comments -- and it will follow the required decision-making process."

The Conservation Law Foundation’s Kaplan said they want to make sure the states aren’t rushing into bad decisions that are expensive for customers, and lock the region into a fossil fuel infrastructure.