Union: Money is clouding CLF’s judgment

Cites partnership with Northern Pass rival TDI

THE RECENT PAID ADVERTISING by the Conservation Law Foundation (Sunday Boston Globe, page A12) against the Northern Pass transmission project should not be a surprise to citizens of Massachusetts or those making decisions regarding Massachusetts Clean Energy Initiative.  As my uncle always said, the answer to the question is usually money.

While CLF’s continued assault on Massachusetts economic development efforts and working families is disappointing, what is most troubling is CLF’s continued lack of transparency when it comes to their financial interests and partnerships with some energy projects and the positions they publically extol.  While CLF disparages Northern Pass, it promotes a nearly identical hydroelectric project because the group has a large financial partnership with the project’s developers.

CLF’s financial partnership with TDI, the developer of the New England Clean Power Link project, dates back to 2015.  At that time, CLF signed an agreement with TDI that put over $250 million into various environmental organizations with the requirement that CLF have a leadership role in these various environmental special interests.  Further, this money benefits other New England states, notably Vermont, and does not flow to Massachusetts.

As with all large energy infrastructure projects, there are negative environmental impacts from TDI’s project; however, CLF does not speak of any negative impacts of the TDI project because it has signed an agreement that prevents them from talking about it.  CLF is contractually obligated to stay silent about the TDI project and not get involved in anything that might be considered counter to the TDI project.

So, while CLF decries the negative environmental impacts of Canadian hydroelectric power used by the Northern Pass project, it has a financial partnership with a competing project that relies on the exact same source of Canadian hydroelectric power.

Unlike the TDI-CLF financial partnership, where the benefits of the energy project flow almost exclusively to CLF and environmental special interests, Northern Pass has directed its benefits to working families in New Hampshire and Massachusetts and established more than $200 million in benefits aimed at growing our states’ economies, creating jobs and investing in new clean energy technologies.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has taken an active role in promoting some electric transmission projects because of their importance to the workers of Massachusetts.  We have worked diligently to ensure that energy projects utilize local labor and that benefits from these projects flow to our home states.  Our motivation is to create work for our members and we strive to be transparent about our interests.

Meet the Author

Brian Murphy

Business manager, IBEW Local 104
Massachusetts citizens should demand the same of others that seek to influence your position on these important issues.

Brian Murphy of Walpole is the business manager for IBEW Local 104, which represents over 1,000 outside electrical workers in New England.