State’s top executives push for more natural gas

MA Competitive Partnership appeals to Baker, DeLeo, Chandler

THE MASSACHUSETTS COMPETITIVE PARTNERSHIP, a group representing the top executives of the state’s largest employers, released a letter on Tuesday urging the state’s top three political leaders to push for an expansion of the region’s natural gas pipeline infrastructure.

The letter was dated March 12, but not released publicly until Tuesday because officials with the partnership first wanted to reach out personally to Gov. Charlie Baker, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Senate President Harriette Chandler. Officials did not disclose how those personal conversations went.

The letter from the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership broke little new ground on the divisive pipeline issue. It said more natural gas capacity was needed to stabilize energy prices in the region, particularly during peak demand periods when demand for natural gas outstrips available supply.

Dan O’Connell, the president and CEO of the partnership, and Bryan Jamele, the chief operating officer, said in the letter that the organization supports the shift to hydro-electricity and renewable energy. “The reality is that the region is still years away from the benefit of relying solely on renewables for the majority of our electricity generation needs,” the letter said.

The two officials went on to call for a “balanced energy approach” that increases access to natural gas while bolstering the state’s renewable energy portfolio. The letter did not address how additional pipeline capacity would be financed, a major roadblock.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

The Massachusetts Competitive Partnership has 17 members who are all influential CEOs. The chairman is Robert Reynolds of Putnam Investments, who with O’Connell reached out to the political leaders. Other members of the group’s board include Abigail Johnson of Fidelity Investments, Robert Kraft of the Kraft Group, Michael Dell of Dell Technologies, James Judge of Eversource Energy, David Torchiana of Partners HealthCare, and John Fish of Suffolk Construction.

Officials said the partnership is also now a member of the Coalition for Sustainable Energy, an organization made of Massachusetts business groups that is pushing for more natural gas capacity. The group announced its formation in February.