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West Coast attorneys general urge federal regulators to deny natural gas pipeline expansion

KTVZ file

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, California Attorney General Rob Bonta and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a motion Monday to intervene and request that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission deny the proposed capacity expansion of the Gas Transmission Northwest Express pipeline.

The proposed capacity expansion would increase the amount of natural gas carried by the pipeline by 150 million cubic feet per day, resulting in increased greenhouse gas emissions, the attorneys general said.

The GTN pipeline currently stretches 1,377 miles from Kingsgate in British Columbia, Canada, to Malin, Oregon, terminating just north of California and connecting directly to other pipelines that deliver natural gas.

“The West Coast is experiencing very real impacts of climate change and leading the climate fight, so it is fitting that Oregon, Washington, and California band together on this joint motion asking FERC to take a hard look at this pipeline proposal,” said Attorney General Rosenblum.

“Today, I’m joining my colleagues in Washington and Oregon in calling on FERC to deny the proposed GTN pipeline expansion or at the very least address the inadequacy of the environmental review,” said Attorney General Bonta. 

“Expanding the capacity of this pipeline would have significant environmental and public health impacts and is out of step with state and federal climate goals – and FERC can’t honestly say otherwise. The reality is, when we expand gas infrastructure, it’s all too often minority, low-income, and Indigenous communities that pay the price. I urge FERC to comply with the law and not allow this expansion to move forward.”

“This project undermines Washington state’s efforts to fight climate change,” said Attorney General Ferguson. “This pipeline is bad for the environment and bad for consumers.”

The GTN pipeline currently stretches 1,377 miles from Kingsgate in British Columbia, Canada, to Malin, Oregon, terminating just north of California and connecting directly to other pipelines that deliver natural gas throughout the state.

Last October, TC Energy – the same company behind the now-abandoned Keystone XL pipeline – submitted an application to FERC to expand the capacity of the GTN pipeline.

Rosenblum said the expansion is expected to result in more than 3.24 million metric tons of greenhouse gases emissions per year, including methane and carbon dioxide, and generate an estimated $12 billion in social costs. Expanding pipeline infrastructure also often has downstream effects such as air pollution and environmental harms to nearby communities.

In joint comments, the Western states highlight that FERC’s draft EIS is deficient in several key respects in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, and in a joint motion, the states argue that TC Energy’s application to expand the GTN pipeline should be denied. Specifically, the states argue that:

  • FERC’s draft EIS fails to accurately characterize and sufficiently analyze the climate change impacts of the expanded GTN pipeline;
  • FERC’s draft EIS fails to consider a reasonable range of alternatives, including a “no action” alternative;
  • FERC’s draft EIS does not acknowledge or analyze the expanded GTN pipeline’s tension with the Western states’ climate and energy goals;
  • GTN’s application fails to demonstrate sufficient evidence of a public need for this capacity expansion; and
  • GTN’s application fails to show that the capacity expansion is in the public interest given its adverse effects.

A copy of the filings can be found here.

Article Topic Follows: Environment

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