SECTION 1. Section 94A of chapter 164 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-
As part of the review of a contract with a term of more than 1 year for new gas pipeline capacity, the department shall determine whether such contract is in the public interest. The department shall not approve such a contract unless, in its public interest determination, the department finds that: (i) such contract is necessary to satisfy demand for gas by, and is cost-effective for, in-state ratepayers; (ii) such contract compares favorably to other reasonably available options in terms of its impact on rates, the economy, environment, climate, local communities, public health, safety and welfare; (iii) the parties to the proposed contract have attempted, in good faith, to identify and evaluate alternatives that would reduce or eliminate the need for private land takings or public land disposition including, but not limited to, fuller and more long-term utilization of existing gas infrastructure, distribution system repairs and upgrades, contracts for gas storage along unconstrained pipeline corridors, enhancement of peak-shaving measures, and colocation of gas infrastructure with major roadways; and (iv) for contracts exceeding a term of 3 years, the parties to the proposed contract have attempted, in good faith, to identify and evaluate demand-side options to reduce or eliminate the need for new gas infrastructure.
SECTION 2. Chapter 30A of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 10A the following section:-
Section 10B. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 10, in any adjudicatory proceeding regarding any petition, request for approval or investigation of a gas company or electric company, as those terms are defined in section 1 of chapter 164, the following shall be permitted to participate as full parties in the proceeding:
(a) any municipality that is within the service area of such company;
(b) any member of the general court whose district includes ratepayers of such company; and
(c) any group of not less than 10 persons who are ratepayers of the company.
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