GTN Xpress Fracked Gas Pipeline

GTN Xpress is a fossil fuel industry scheme to pump more fracked gas into an existing pipeline that cuts across the Northwest.

"Stop GTN Xpress" sticker overlaying Columbia River scenic photo

TC Energy is full steam ahead with plans to expand its Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN) pipeline by 150,000 dekatherms per day (Dth/d). This new gas would be the equivalent of adding 754,000 cars to the road every year for 30 years. That’s an awful lot of gas to be piping into a region that is clearly moving away from its reliance on fracked gas. In fact, our state climate and energy laws require reducing fracked gas consumption in order to reach our climate targets.

About the pipeline

The GTN pipeline is owned by TC Energy, the oil and gas company behind the failed Keystone XL oil pipeline. TC Energy’s GTN pipeline transports fracked gas to gas utilities for markets in the Northwest. It runs from Kingsgate, British Columbia, through Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, terminating near Malin, Oregon. TC Energy has proposed a “compression-only” expansion of its system—called GTN XPress—which would increase the volume of gas moving through the pipeline. The project consists of software upgrades and construction of gas-fired compressor station infrastructure to move a larger volume of gas at higher pressure. Cascade Natural Gas, Intermountain Natural Gas Company, and Tourmaline Oil are the three entities contracted to buy the new gas from GTN Xpress.

Opposition to expansion

Since TC Energy applied for permission to construct GTN Xpress in 2021, opposition to the project has grown tremendously, including: 

  • 3 State Attorneys General: Ferguson (WA), Rosenblum (OR), Bonta (CA);
  • 2 Governors: Inslee (WA) and Kotek (OR); 
  • 6 U.S. Senators: Merkley (OR), Wyden (OR), Cantwell (WA), Murray (WA), Padilla (CA), Feinstein (CA);
  • 3 U.S. Representatives: Blumenauer (OR), Salinas (OR), Jayapal (WA);
  • 4 State Representatives: Doglio (WA), Duerr (WA), Ramel (WA), Marsh (OR);
  • The Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission; 
  • Over 50 grassroots environmental, public health, and social justice organizations;
  • And thousands of individuals across the nation. 

Opposition to the project is rooted in three interconnected areas: 

  • Climate and Air Pollution: Impacts from burning additional fracked gas and operating pipeline infrastructure.
  • Demand: The new gas from GTN Xpress is not necessary because our states’ climate and energy laws require reductions in fracked gas consumption. Ratepayers should not have to pay for expensive new gas infrastructure. 

Safety: TC Energy has a history of pipeline spills and explosions and cannot be trusted to build and maintain safe pipelines—let alone pump more pressurized gas into an old pipeline.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

protest signs that read "FERC: Just say NO" and "NO GTN XPRESS"

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the agency responsible for approving interstate pipeline projects like GTN Xpress. Unfortunately, FERC is known for rubber-stamping nearly every pipeline project it receives, regardless of environmental or community impacts. In the last two decades, FERC has only rejected 2 fracked gas projects out of nearly 500. 

Even though we knew our chances were slim, we presented FERC with plenty of evidence to reject GTN Xpress. The good news: That evidence and advocacy caused FERC to delay its approval of GTN Xpress by an entire year past TC Energy’s requested approval date. 

FERC eventually approved GTN Xpress in October 2023, but not without sharp criticism from pipeline communities and elected officials. 

The fight isn’t over!

Columbia Riverkeeper, along with Rogue Climate, is challenging FERC’s approval of GTN Xpress in federal court, represented by Crag Law Center and Earthjustice. 

The states of Washington and Oregon are also pursuing a separate legal challenge, due to FERC’s refusal to consider state climate and energy laws in its analysis.