Creative Advocacy for Major Climate Threat
By Dan Serres, Advocacy Director, Columbia Riverkeeper
On January 16, 2024, Bloomberg News reported that nearly 150 organizations including Columbia Riverkeeper are urging the White House to use its authority to stop the TC Energy GTN Xpress pipeline expansion.
Audrey Leonard, a staff attorney with Columbia Riverkeeper, was quoted explaining:
There needs to be a change of course if the administration is actually going to make progress toward reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. This is a fantastic opportunity for the EPA [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency] to show its commitment to addressing the climate crisis and environmental justice issues.
Our ask: The letter calls on EPA Administrator Michael Regan to refer the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) decision to approve the GTN Xpress Pipeline Project to the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) for review.
Why it matters: TC Energy’s GTN Xpress pipeline expansion would increase the capacity of the existing GTN Xpress fracked gas pipeline system by 150 million cubic feet of gas per day through 2050 despite incontrovertible evidence that fossil fuel expansion will compound the climate emergency’s most damaging consequences.
What federal regulators got wrong: We are challenging FERC in court. Why? FERC violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Specifically, FERC admitted that it would only consider alternatives that meet TC Energy's goal of expanding its existing pipeline system—and refused to consider whether the public’s energy needs could be otherwise met. Not so fast. NEPA requires agencies to take a “hard look” at the environmental consequences of their proposed actions and meaningfully consider alternatives. Instead of taking a hard look at fracked gas alternatives, FERC greenlighted the project and ignored Washington and Oregon’s legally binding decarbonization commitments.
There’s hope: FERC's decision is not the final word on GTN Xpress. Together, we WILL work to protect our communities, the environment, and our shared future.
Bloomberg’s article highlights the imminent danger of the GTN Xpress to Northwest communities.