YOUR FEB. 5 editorial “Salem gas plant must be a bridge, not a barrier, to clean energy” raised important questions for Massachusetts. We have rejected coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel from both a human health and climate change perspective. The question is: What source will we use for the 5 to 10 percent of our electricity that comes from coal? Will we act boldly to protect our children and grandchildren, and take aggressive steps to shift away from fossil fuels, or will we take the easier path that quietly puts future generations in harm’s way?
Building a new gas plant in Salem is the easier choice, but the wrong choice.
Missing from the debate over our energy future is the creative problem-solving and innovative thinking for which Massachusetts is known. It is wrong for us to make energy choices that will imperil our children and grandchildren, merely because meeting our energy needs without investing in more natural gas presents a complex challenge. Complexity is not an excuse for inaction; it is an opportunity for innovation, courage, and leadership.
Governor Patrick should ensure Massachusetts meets its future energy needs only with clean renewable energy. The first step is to commission an analysis on how to fill the gap that will be left by retiring coal plants, without relying on more natural gas. The second step is to start taking the necessary actions to ensure that we choose the clean energy path.
The writers are co-directors of Mothers Out Front.