To the editor:

As Massachusetts businesses wrestle with global economic uncertainty and a stock market nearing the end of its cycle, the last thing they want to be worried about is whether they can keep the lights on. But with moratoria on new natural gas hookups sweeping across the state, from the Cape to the Berkshires — and a third of our energy at risk of retirement — that’s exactly what is happening.

It’s hard to understand why natural gas has become the enemy of clean energy in some people’s eyes. Natural gas is responsible for almost all of our state emissions reductions over the last 25 years. It’s affordable – and it’s more reliable than just about any renewable for the foreseeable future.

But because of pipeline constraints, businesses in more and more communities are faced with finding alternatives that are often worse for our environment and more expensive – this at a time when we already face energy costs higher than anywhere but Hawaii and Alaska.

Are communities on the North Shore next on the moratorium list? Let’s not wait to find out. Instead, let’s take action to bring the cost of clean, reliable and affordable energy down – and give businesses from Gloucester to Saugus the help they need.

Robert Bradford

President

North Shore Chamber of Commerce