I’m writing to comment on National Grid’s tactics regarding its proposed E37/Albany Loop fracked gas pipeline. It has been reported that National Grid has asked local government officials and leaders of development agencies to submit testimony to the Public Service Commission (PSC) concerning this proposed fracked gas pipeline extension. Many of the solicited individuals did so, and National Grid supplied information to the authors for inclusion in their testimony.
It has also been reported that the PSC received postcards from citizens stating that the E37/Albany loop pipeline is inconsistent with New York State law and policy. These postcards were an efficient and transparent mechanism for conveying a broadly held sentiment. They should not be compared to the letters solicited by National Grid, which in fact raise ethical questions.
Did the solicited authors verify the information supplied to them by the company? Did the authors cite National Grid as their source? Did their letters provide independent expertise or insight? Had National Grid already conveyed the same information to the PSC? If so, did recycling information through solicited allies serve a legitimate purpose? Did the letters explain why natural gas is preferable to renewable energy sources for future development? Were the actions of National Grid consistent with the spirit and purpose of public comment? These questions deserve further attention.
Board Member, Community Advocates for a Sustainable Environment