BOSTON – Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton has tapped a former National Grid executive to help handle the new administration’s energy policy, and appointed new leaders to the agency overseeing utilities in Massachusetts.
Beaton also asked a number of senior officials who worked in former Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration to remain on in an interim capacity while he makes final decisions on their positions, including Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner John Murray and Department of Fish and Game legislative director Mary-Lee King.
King, a senior policy adviser to Gov. Charlie Baker’s mentor, former Gov. William Weld, and one-time chief of staff to then-state Sen. Paul Cellucci, will temporarily take charge of the Department of Fish and Game.
The appointments come on the heels of revelations that National Grid and Northeast Utilities have moved to terminate their power purchasing agreements for Cape Wind, leaving new questions about the future of off-shore wind energy in Massachusetts.
Baker has also spoken about the need to increase natural-gas capacity in the state, though he so far has opposed Kinder Morgan’s plans to construct a pipeline from New York through New Hampshire to Dracut. Kinder Morgan plans a series of 13 open houses to provide additional public information on the pipeline project later this month, including five in Massachusetts in Berlin, Fitchburg, Greenfield, Pittsfield and Andover.
In his inaugural address, Baker noted that families and businesses are “being hit with unprecedented increases in their energy and electric bills. At exactly the same time energy prices across the rest of the country are falling.”
Baker said he wanted to work with leaders in Massachusetts and other New England states, like Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, to “solve this problem while we continue to reduce our carbon footprint.”
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