ELM to AIM - Stop Distorting the Truth

February 13, 2016
George Bachrach, President ELM

Rick Lord, President                                                                                           February 12, 2016
Associated Industries of Massachusetts
One Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108

Dear Mr. Lord:

We are both engaged in an ongoing and important public debate about our energy future, for the next thirty years.  I think the starting point is to get our facts straight.  Don’t you agree? 

Last week both our organizations ran advertisements on energy policy in the Boston Globe.  The Globe asked the ELM Action Fund for a “fact check” for our ad, which we provided and they approved.  Did they ask you for a fact check for your ad?  I assume not.

This week, we challenged you to document your facts.  Your full page ad in the Globe claimed the Commonwealth’s solar subsidy is $8 billion, over ten years.  We both know this number is wrong, off by a factor of two-fold.  Since this is the critical fact for state legislators, hiding behind misleading ads only deceives them, the public and your members.  If you believe you are correct, we challenge you again to document your facts and engage in a public debate.

In today’s Globe article by Jon Chesto, you say you do not answer to ELM, but rather to your corporate members.  You are correct.  Have you asked your members?  We challenge you again to conduct an independent poll of your members on this issue.  We will pay for the pollster.  If not, how do you know you speak for the business community?  And when you later claim you are concerned about lower income and elderly rate payers, that would be a first for AIM.  I’m confused about which constituency you claim to represent?

I know a little bit about the position of Massachusetts businesses on the solar issue.  Last fall, three members of the ELM Corporate Council came to Beacon Hill in support of solar energy.  Aggregate Industries hopes to build a solar project partnering with the City of Haverhill on the city’s landfill.  Blue Cross Blue Shield/MA and Boston Scientific, Inc. proposed solar projects in partnership with the Quincy public schools.  These companies believe solar projects are important to both the company and the community.  None will go forward without lifting the solar cap and a fair compromise on the resale of solar energy back to the grid.  Unfortunately, AIM stands in the way.

You lobby for more natural gas as “clean and cheap”.   You know it is neither.  We don’t need an MIT degree to understand it is a fossil fuel and pollutes, unlike solar, wind and hydro.  We don’t need a portfolio advisor to tell us if we increase our investment in  gas from 60 to 70%, we are overextended in one source and put our portfolio at risk.  We don’t need a fact check to note the only documented $8 billion figure for energy is the cost of new gas pipelines.  Ironically, while you strenuously oppose taxes of all kinds, you ignore the new tariff every electric ratepayer will be forced to pay utilities over the next 30 years to pay for the pipelines.  Isn’t this a tax?  Even worse, if new energy sources or technology make the pipelines obsolete, as they surely will, ratepayers will still have to pay for old pipelines, for 30 years.  It’s call “stranded” costs.  Shouldn’t this be a concern for the elderly and poor?  Why not run an ad about that?

If you want to be a credible spokesman for business, why not poll your members?  If you want to be a credible spokesman on policy, why not defend your facts?  If you can’t do either, stop distorting the truth and get off the field.



George Bachrach, President

Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund

For more information please go to ELM's site -  www.ourfutureenergy.org

This letter was reprinted with permission from George Bachrach