New England needs a significant increase in natural gas supplies. This need was demonstrated during the recent cold snap. Natural gas supplies were stretched to their maximum, forcing utilities to divert gas to meet residential and business heating demand and turn to burning high-emission oil in order to meet electric power demands.

On Jan. 2, oil was used to generate one-third of the region’s electricity, according to ISO-New Englamd, the region’s grid operator. Cleaner-burning natural gas, normally accounting for about half the region’s electric power generation, was cut in half to service residential and business needs.

The natural gas prices in New England are the highest in the nation, because of our natural gas pipeline constraints. Poor families spend multiple times more of their hard-earned income on heat and electricity than their more affluent neighbors.

Cheap natural gas is available from eastern Pennsylvania, literally at New England’s doorstep. Efforts by environmental groups have blocked expansion at every turn. They reject cleaner-burning natural gas in favor of burning high-emission oil in our power plants. Never mind that over 40 percent of homes in New England continue to burn heating oil!

Expanding renewable-energy resources is a good thing. However, wind and solar are intermittent resources that require natural gas generation to fill the gap. Until meaningful amounts of clean energy are developed, cleaner-burning natural gas is our only reasonable alternative. It is short-sighted to ignore the consequences of inadequate gas supplies. It is harming the economic health of the region. New England deserves better.

Frank Stille

Shrewsbury, Mass.

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