New energy plan merits our support

I write on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut in support of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's effort to develop a comprehensive energy strategy for the state and to encourage our legislators to fast track this important initiative.

The governor's proposal includes significant expansion of natural gas availability for state businesses and residents. Expanding the availability of natural gas presents a unique opportunity to provide a choice of energy not available in many parts of the state today.

The marketplace will make the ultimate decision whether or not a business or homeowner will switch heating fuels, a choice that does not presently exist for far too many businesses and homeowners. Having a choice will result in creating a more competitive environment for energy users resulting in energy savings for Connecticut residents, businesses, and non-profits.

In addition, the governor's plan is important because it will quickly generate a significant number of badly needed new construction and trade jobs and when completed it will produce much needed additional municipal tax revenue. When operational it will also make available a cleaner domestic supply of energy with significant environmental benefits for the state and it will help reduce our over reliance on foreign oil imports.

The Comprehensive Energy Strategy proposal is not a short-term fix for the state. It is a well thought out plan that will allow residents and businesses to make informed decisions about their energy needs. The result will be a much-needed state energy policy that will positively position our state economically and environmentally.

We applaud the governor for putting forth this important initiative and we urge our legislators to support this long overdue initiative as well.

Tony Sheridan is president and CEO of the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce.

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