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Business and labor groups call for natural gas pipeline, renewables

A group of New England labor and business groups has called for the construction of new pipelines, transmissions lines, wind farms, and other energy infrastructure, warning of billions of dollars in lost income and tens of thousands of lost jobs if the region doesn’t commit to doing more to cut energy costs.

The newly formed New England Coalition for Affordable Energy said Wednesday that without new investment, the region could face $5.4 billion in higher energy costs between now and 2020, according to a study the group conducted. The private sector would create 52,000 fewer jobs, without new energy infrastructure, according to the study.


The group’s members include business groups such as the Associated Industries of Massachusetts and the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, unions such as the Utility Workers’ Union of America Local 369, and retail and real estate interest groups.

It’s at least the second business group to call for more natural gas supplies to the region amid abundant supplies of the fossil fuel being drilled in and around Pennsylvania. Last year, a group called the Coalition to Lower Energy Costs said that New Englanders paid an extra $1.9 billion in energy costs in 2013 because of constrained gas pipeline capacity.

Environmental advocates and community groups have opposed many pipeline projects, however, saying that New England can meet its electricity needs by promoting energy efficiency and supporting renewable energy projects.

Jack Newsham can be reached at jack.newsham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheNewsHam.