Holyoke, Mass., Mayor Alex Morse Opposes Gas Expansion In City

Apr 23, 2019

Holyoke, Massachusetts, Mayor Alex Morse has come out against a natural gas expansion plan by his city's municipal energy company because of concerns over climate change.

This year, Holyoke Gas and Electric joined some other area providers in halting new gas hookups because, they say, there isn't enough pipeline capacity.

And Morse said he doesn't want to add any more.

"We can continue to pour tens of millions of dollars into natural gas infrastructure, or we can invest that money in solutions, and make them more affordable to small businesses and home owners that frankly can't afford it without that investment," Morse said.

Holyoke City Councilor David Bartley said natural gas is the best short-term solution, and also took Morse to task.

"He issues press releases," Bartley said, "and then he gets a lot of pats on the back from people outside of Holyoke, and maybe some supporters within the community, that really, again, don't offer an alternative."

Holyoke Gas and Electric is working with another provider — Columbia Gas — on the proposal.

In a statement, Columbia said, "No final agreement between Holyoke Gas & Electric and Columbia Gas has been reached. We are still considering all alternatives. Any solution that requires Columbia Gas to construct facilities would likely require regulatory approval — which is an open and public process."

According to its website, HGE has made investments in renewable energy when it comes to electricity. It says 65 percent of Holyoke's electric power is generated through hydroelectric resources, and has developed 16 megawatts of solar since 2012.