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Activists hold march, rally to protest pipeline ‘tax’

BOSTON (AP) — Opponents of natural gas pipelines are urging Massachusetts lawmakers to bar utilities from passing on the costs of financing new pipelines to electric customers.

Dozens of activists rallied at the Statehouse on Monday, wrapping up a 43-mile, four-day walk through areas where Spectra Energy hopes to build new pipelines. Several camped out overnight in front of the capitol.

An energy bill passed by the Senate would prohibit surcharges on ratepayers for construction costs, something opponents have dubbed a “pipeline tax.” House and Senate negotiators are now working on a final version of the bill.

Utilities say additional natural gas capacity is needed to prevent winter shortages that can result in higher bills for consumers.

But critics say the state should focus on developing renewable energy over carbon-based fuels.


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