Oct 24, 2022
Over three dozen groups on Monday pressured three Democratic West Coast governors to "voice your opposition to the plan to increase the amount of fracked gas flowing through your states" ahead of a decision by federal regulators expected early next year.
"We need our governors to stand with us and send a strong message to the federal government to stop rubber-stamping pipeline expansions."
"The urgency of the climate crisis demands action from your administrations," even before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) weighs in, the organizations wrote to Govs. Kate Brown of Oregon, Jay Insee of Washington, and Gavin Newsom of California.
The letter explains that "Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN) is seeking approval from FERC to increase the capacity of its 1,354-mile fracked gas pipeline that runs from British Columbia, through Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, and down to California."
"FERC estimates the expansion will result in 3.24 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, even without considering the upstream methane leakage," which is "the same annual carbon pollution as eight new gas-fired power plants," the letter notes.
The groups praised Brown, Inslee, and Newsom for their "strong efforts to tackle the climate crisis" so far and argued that the expansion project, known as GTN XPress, "would go against these commitments by locking in the region's reliance on fracked gas for at least another 30 years, subsidized by ratepayers."
"We urge you to carefully weigh the climate impacts of increasing gas capacity, and consider how the GTN XPress project is inconsistent with Washington, Oregon, and California's efforts to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions," the letter concludes. "As our state leaders, we ask you to make your opposition to the proposal loud and clear."
\u201c30+ orgs urged governors to make their opposition to GTN Xpress loud & clear! We need state a federal leadership to protect our climate & communities from TC Energy\u2019s proposal to significantly increase fracked-gas capacity in its interstate GTN Pipeline: https://t.co/D7147GxlYX\u201d— Columbia Riverkeeper (@Columbia Riverkeeper) 1666652725
Representatives from groups that signed on to the letter also stressed local opposition.
"There are over 30 organizations with a range of climate, social justice, health, and place-based goals that fiercely oppose this project," noted Columbia Riverkeeper staff attorney Audrey Leonard.
Maig Tinnin, Rogue Valley coordinator for Rogue Climate, highlighted that "Northwest communities have organized to win strong climate goals in our states and this project threatens our ability to meet those emission reductions."
"Over the last five years, while many worked to defeat new pipelines like Jordan Cove LNG, FERC approved more than a dozen pipeline expansion projects across the country," Tinnin added. "We need our governors to stand with us and send a strong message to the federal government to stop rubber-stamping pipeline expansions."
Though Republican Gov. Brad Little of Idaho did not receive the letter, some organizations in his state also supported it.
"Like our West Coast neighbors, concerned Idahoans oppose any new or expanded fossil fuels extraction, transportation, and infrastructure projects," said Wild Idaho Rising Tide organizer Helen Yost. "We encourage California, Oregon, and Washington governors to further consider the broad climate impacts of their public actions and decisions, especially for under-represented, rural communities."
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