Controversial pipelines pushed by Trump a risk to West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and the planet.
Two studies released today find that if built, the controversial Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines would together contribute as much greenhouse gas pollution as 45 coal-fired power plants — some 158 million metric tons a year. The studies, released by Oil Change International, build upon a new methodology, also released today, for calculating the climate impacts of natural gas pipelines in the Appalachian Basin based on the evolving science of methane leakage and its impact on our climate.
The studies show that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is out of date on measuring climate impacts, and is failing to protect communities and citizens around the country.
“Our analysis shows that both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline are climate disasters. They threaten communities along the route and they would cause massive increases in climate pollution,” said report author and Oil Change International Senior Research Analyst Lorne Stockman, who is also a resident of Staunton, Virginia, close to the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “We don’t need these pipelines and we don’t want them. We need to move away from fossil fuels, not double down on the increased climate pollution they would cause.”
The Mountain Valley Pipeline is proposed to run 301 miles from north western West Virginia to south central Virginia. Today’s analysis finds that the pipeline would be responsible for close to 90 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, equivalent to 26 coal plants or 19 million vehicles on the road.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline also begins in northwestern West Virginia and would run, southeast through Virginia and south into North Carolina. Today’s analysis finds that this pipeline would be responsible for nearly 68 million metric tons of climate pollution annually, equivalent to 20 coal plants or 14 million vehicles on the road.
The pipelines studies can be found at the following links:
- Mountain Valley Pipeline: http://priceofoil.org/2017/02/15/mountain-valley-pipeline-greenhouse-gas-emissions-briefing
- Atlantic Coast Pipeline: http://priceofoil.org/2017/02/15/atlantic-coast-pipeline-greenhouse-gas-emissions-briefing
- Methodology Background: http://priceofoil.org/2017/02/15/gas-pipeline-climate-methodology
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is holding “public comment sessions” along the route of the Atlantic Coast pipeline this week through to March 02. The public are invited to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the pipeline published in December, with written comments accepted through April 6.
“FERC analysis of gas pipelines and climate change conveniently ignores both science and economics in order to come to the foregone conclusion that these pipelines have no impact. Unfortunately, FERC was doing this even before the dawn of the Trump era of ‘alternative facts’. The commission is doing a disservice to landowners, communities and the nation when it ignores facts in order to rubberstamp infrastructure we don’t need,” said Lorne Stockman.
Advocates from the region reacted to the report with concern and intention to continue supporting opposition to the pipeline.
“This analysis confirms our worst fears about how the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline would accelerate dangerous climate change,” said Mike Tidwell, director of Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “We already knew FERC fell way short in assessing the climate impact of the pipelines by ignoring the full scope of the methane pollution they would cause. This includes the increased fracking the pipelines would trigger, leakage along the route, and the ultimate burning of the gas. Oil Change International’s meticulous report fills in FERC’s inadequacies and lays out the sheer scale of just how disastrous these pipelines would be for our planet and our future.”
“We know that climate change disproportionately impacts low-income people, the elderly and communities of color. We know that vulnerable communities along the pipelines’ proposed routes will bear the risks of explosion, contaminated drinking water, and higher energy bills. We know there are more sustainable, equitable ways to provide energy. We must act accordingly and halt the massive overbuilding of gas infrastructure in this country,” said Peter Anderson, Virginia Program Manager with Appalachian Voices.