Critics: East Coast Explosion Reason to Deny NW Pipeline Expansion
Wednesday, July 26, 2023
People opposed to expanding a fracked gas pipeline in the Northwest are pointing to the explosion of a pipeline in Virginia as another reason to reject the project.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will decide tomorrow whether to approve expansion of Gas Transmission Northwest, or GTN Xpress, which moves fracked gas from Canada to California.
On Tuesday, a pipeline owned by the company behind GTN Xpress, TC Energy, ruptured and caught fire 80 miles from Washington, D.C., causing the closure of a nearby interstate.
Dan Serres, conservation director for Columbia Riverkeeper, argued the rupture provides ample reason to halt the new pipeline.
"This should be all the evidence that FERC needs to press the pause button and either deny GTN Xpress or withdrawal it from the agenda," Serres contended.
The cause of the pipeline explosion in Virginia is still unknown. No injuries were reported. FERC commissioners will vote on GTN Xpress tomorrow at 10 a.m. ET. In a statement, TC Energy said natural gas is a critical component of the U.S.'s long-term energy needs and there is strong demand for it in the Northwest.
Serres pointed out GTN Xpress runs counter to climate goals set in Washington, California and Oregon, through which the pipeline runs. Spills are a concern as well. In December, a TC Energy owned pipeline spilled 588,000 gallons of oil in Kansas. Serres also noted the rupture in Virginia raises other concerns about a similar situation happening in the fire prone areas of the Northwest.
"Communities along the pipeline route and near the compressors have been objecting to the project because of its public safety implications, its enormous climate pollution impact and the public health concerns with communities near the pipeline's compressors," Serres outlined.
Opponents are urging Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. and Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., to oppose the project. Their colleagues in Oregon have voiced opposition, along with the attorneys general of Washington, California and Oregon, and the governors of Washington and Oregon.
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