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Gas Pipeline Expansion Would Hurt NW Climate Goals, Say Opponents

By Eric Tegethoff, Producer | Public News Service

Environmental groups want West Coast governors to speak out against the expansion of a gas pipeline in the region. The Canadian company T-C Energy is proposing to increase capacity for its G-T-N XPress pipeline, which stretches more than 1,300 miles from Canada through Washington state, Oregon, and California.

Maig Tinnin, coordinator for Rogue Climate in southern Oregon, said a lot of work has been done to ensure state and local governments in the Northwest pass strong climate goals to transition away from fossil fuels.

“This increase in fracked gas flowing through the Northwest would fly in the face of all of that work,” Tinnin said.

Critics added expanding the pipeline would be equivalent to adding more than 750,000 cars to the roads every year for the next three decades. T-C Energy contends the project is necessary to meet the growing demand for gas in the Northwest as the region moves away from energy sources like coal. Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden have expressed their opposition to the expansion project.

Audrey Leonard, staff attorney with Columbia Riverkeeper, said the pipeline poses safety concerns, noting T-C Energy is the company behind the Keystone Pipeline System that recently leaked more than 600,000 gallons of oil in Kansas. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission held a public hearing on the expansion project, and in response to the spill more than 150 opponents of the G-T-N XPress held a “people’s hearing” earlier this month.

“It’s exciting to see people mobilizing and speaking out, because the federal agency has really not done much to listen to those voices, and also the concerns of the tribes that have been raised formally, through the comment process,” Leonard said.

She added the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could make a decision about the pipeline proposal as early as March 16th.

Disclosure: Columbia Riverkeeper contributes to our fund for reporting on Endangered Species & Wildlife, Environment, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.



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