Send a Message to the OPUC: Let’s Keep the Future of Gas Short

Let’s send a message to the OPUC

Send a Message to the OPUC: Let’s Keep the Future of Gas Short

In Salem, Ore., the Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) just released a draft fact-finding report in April for a docket pertaining to the “future of gas” in the Northwest. For years, people throughout Columbia River communities have worked diligently towards a rapid, efficient, equitable transition away from fossil fuels, including fracked gas. In its report, the Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) proposes an approach that would add fracked gas customers and prolong fracked gas use. 

These actions would be counterproductive for protecting customers from rising bills and averting health and climate impacts from fracked gas use.

Take Action: Sign our petition urging the Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) to implement strong measures to prevent Oregon from locking ratepayers into polluting, harmful fracked gas.

The OPUC’s report should focus on protecting communities from climate change impacts, rapidly rising energy costs, and health burdens associated with fracked gas use—disparate impacts felt by BIPOC communities, lower and middle income households, and people in rural areas. The OPUC’s fact-finding report should bolster policies that reduce gas and protect customers rather than tacking on costs for more gas infrastructure to ratepayers’ monthly bills.

We are urging the OPUC to amend its fact-finding effort and policy recommendations in the following ways:

  • Resist the gas industry’s efforts to raise rates on current customers to pay for more gas infrastructure and false advertising.
  • Protect BIPOC, lower- and middle-income, and rural ratepayers from increasing energy burdens related to fracked gas. These are communities for whom health and energy burdens related to fossil fuels are disproportionately high, and the effects of climate change are often felt first and worst. 
  • Eliminate line extension subsidies for the gas industry. New pipes are expensive and further lock our region into burning fracked fuels.
  • Direct gas utilities to promote options for installing electric heat pumps and weatherization measures that provide tangible benefits to human health and the climate while lessening the use and impact of fracked gas region-wide.
  • Treat RNG with skepticism. Even in the rosiest projections by the gas industry, renewable natural gas (RNG) will only displace a relatively small portion of the actual physical gas in our pipeline system, most of which will remain fracked for the foreseeable future. Accordingly, RNG will not make up a significant portion of NW Natural’s gas supply in the foreseeable future, either.
  • Accelerate fuel switching away from gas in homes and buildings. Burning gas in homes and buildings leads to indoor air pollution that can be harmful to human health.

Already, Columbia Riverkeeper has joined with a broad coalition to urge the OPUC to resist pressure from NW Natural, Oregon’s largest fracked gas utility, to increase customers’ energy bills. NW Natural’s proposed rate increase would pay for more gas lines, other fracked gas projects, and advertising falsely promoting fracked gas as a climate-friendly solution.

Oregon’s largest gas companies will insist that they have a role to play in a “decarbonized” future. We disagree. The fracked gas industry must wane quickly in order for Oregon to meet its climate goals and protect the indoor air quality for Oregonians who are increasingly impacted by impaired outdoor air quality and extreme weather. We are counting on the OPUC to guide Oregon’s transition away from fracked gas equitably and quickly.

Take Action: Fracked Gas in Oregon

Let’s send a message to the OPUC: keep the future of fracked gas short, with an equitable transition for ratepayers.