Merkley: FERC Continues to Rubber Stamp Fossil Gas Projects without Any Regard for Our Future

Washington, D.C. – Today, Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved TC Energy’s proposal for a major expansion of methane gas infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest:

“Today’s decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to rubber stamp the GTN Xpress pipeline is outrageous. According to FERC’s own analysis the expanded pipeline will cause $8.8 billion in damages, and contribute 1.9 million metric tons of carbon per year in pollution to the Pacific Northwest. That is the equivalent to adding 644,000 gasoline powered cars to the road each year. And of course those numbers are misleadingly low because FERC systematically minimizes the climate chaos effects of fossil gas projects.

“Even worse, six senators, two governors, and three attorneys general have made it crystal clear to FERC that the GTN Xpress will undercut the West Coast’s climate laws by adding capacity at a time when our states are mandating a phase down of fossil gas. There is no need for the GTN Xpress expansion because we are committed to moving away from fossil gas. And FERC is forcing fossil gas into our states so that a foreign company can make money by selling more fracked Canadian fossil gas.

“Unfortunately FERC’s approval is not a surprise because the Commission is captured by the fossil fuel industry. There is no other explanation for how FERC could approve over 99% of the fossil fuel projects it reviews in the face of climate catastrophe. FERC needs fundamental reform.

“Today’s decision must be a wake-up call to everyone who cares about our climate. FERC may be an obscure federal agency to most people, but there are important decisions on the horizon at FERC that will determine whether the world meets its climate goals. With projects such as the Calcasieu Pass 2 LNG export terminal on the horizon, right now, the signs aren’t good.”

Merkley has relentlessly stood in opposition to the GTN Xpress pipeline expansion. This week he led West Coast Senators in warning FERC against approving the flawed and unwanted pipeline expansion, and previously led letters  that highlight how the proposed expansion is not in the public interest and how TC Energy has failed to demonstrate adequate need for the project.