SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

December 2, 2013

Keenan: Myth vs. fact on Salem Harbor Station

With all of the recent hype and hyperbole in the media, I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight on why I’m fighting so hard for a new power plant in Salem. I firmly believe that the redevelopment of Salem Harbor Power Station provides significant economic and environmental benefits to Salem and the state as a whole. Any legislator worthy of the title would do no less for his/her district.

Nonetheless, I have received some recent criticism for my efforts to help Salem deal with the circumstances we now face: retiring an old power plant, the potential loss of tax revenue, the loss of jobs, the possibility of a blighted and abandoned property, and even a deficit of power to serve Salem and the surrounding region.

This criticism stems from the fact that I am supporting legislation that would expedite the approval process for the project, making sure the old plant is torn down in a timely fashion and the new plant developed in accordance with its obligations to our electric systems operators. I am guilty as charged for such support. But why I support such legislation has been distorted, and I feel it appropriate to respond with facts to dispel many of the myths that are being tossed around in conversation and in the media.

Myth: The repowering of Salem Harbor Station is not needed for reliability of the electric grid.

Fact: The Independent System Operator (ISO) for the New England Region has determined that there is a need for Salem Harbor Station. As The Salem News noted in its coverage, ISO declared in an August letter to the Department of Environmental Protection: “(The Conservation Law Foundation) claims that Footprint ‘is not necessary to ensure the continued supply of electricity to the region.’ CLF is simply wrong.” The reliability of the grid does not just mean power reliability for Salem, but also for the North Shore, Boston and the entire commonwealth.

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