July 13, 2013

New England has mixed feelings about natural gas

The region's power supplier worries it might be too reliant on the source of energy.

By DAVE GRAM/The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Pipelines and power plants are infrastructure designed to last 30 to 50 years. CLF is unlikely to support more such projects because they would lock New England into natural gas until the latter half of this century, she said.

"Gas has already helped us as a region move away from coal," Levine said. "The transition we need now is to move away from fossil fuels."

Levine also noted concern about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a hotly debated method for gas extraction that many environmentalists blame for contaminating water supplies.

Thomas Kiley, president of the Northeast Gas Association, said the use of natural gas hasn't peaked in New England yet. When Vermont Gas announced last week that it was expanding its system eastward to Enosburg Falls, allowing homeowners to tap into a heating fuel that could save them up to $2,000 over the cost of heating oil, Gov. Peter Shumlin called it "great news for residents and business owners alike."

Companies wouldn't be expanding systems if they didn't see pent-up customer demand, Kiley said. "It's interesting that the state that bans fracking wants the benefits of low prices, or at least the customers do," he said.


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