Join us in urging the Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) to push back on Cascade Natural Gas and TC Energy’s plans to expand fracked gas in the Northwest by commenting on Cascade’s Integrated Resource Plan.
Re: Cascade Natural Gas Draft Integrated Resource Plan
Dear Chair Decker, Commissioner Tawney, Commissioner Thompson, and Staff:
I support the work the Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) is undertaking to decarbonize Oregon’s energy supplies, and I urge the OPUC not to acknowledge any portion of Cascade Natural Gas’ Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) that will expand the presence of fracked gas in our communities. Oregon is pursuing a downward trajectory for fracked gas use, yet Cascade’s IRP overstates potential gas demand, fails to account adequately for new Oregon laws and rules that will limit gas demand, and exposes ratepayers to unreasonable and inequitable plans to purchase more fracked gas from Canada.
Specifically, I am concerned about Cascade’s decision to purchase 20,000 Dth/d from a new gas pipeline expansion proposed by TC Energy, called GTN Xpress, which would add compression to the existing GTN mainline and expand its throughput by 150,000 Dth/d. TC Energy cites Cascade Natural Gas’ 2020 IRP as evidence for the project’s need in its application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). However, the Oregon Attorney General has objected to the GTN Xpress project and disputes Cascade’s need for the gas. The OPUC should not allow Cascade to pass along the cost of the expansion to ratepayers or include GTN Xpress in its plans.
Cascade cannot ramp up its fracked gas supply by 20,000 Dth/d while meeting greenhouse gas reduction goals in Oregon. Cascade has failed to show how it will meet the requirements of Climate Protection Program in an efficient, cost-effective way. Under Oregon’s Climate Protection Plan, Cascade Natural Gas must reduce emissions from fracked gas. According to comments from the Attorneys General of Oregon, Washington, and California, Cascade’s emissions resulting from the GTN Xpress project alone could be over five times Cascade’s authorized amount for 2050.
Even with its gaps and flaws, Cascade’s analysis indicates that new pipeline capacity is not needed. Additionally, the OPUC requires utilities to meet customer demand in an equitable manner, but Oregon’s Attorney General already objected to the GTN Xpress project because of its negative implications for community safety and environmental justice. Governor Tina Kotek also opposes GTN Xpress because she does not believe it can comply with Oregon's clean energy laws. While Oregon is setting a course away from fracked gas, Cascade is working to lock in additional, unnecessary fracked gas pipeline capacity that has negative implications for public safety, climate-changing pollution reduction goals, and costs to ratepayers.
Thank you for your work to help Oregon chart a reliable, equitable path away from reliance on fossil gas.
Years of community activism and public pressure have changed the landscape for fracked gas in the Northwest. From stopping pipelines and power plants to transitioning buildings away from fracked gas, we are working hard to reduce fracked gas in the Northwest—but the gas industry is pushing a different vision. Fossil fuel pipeline giant TC Energy is proposing to ship a huge quantity of fracked gas into the Northwest via the GTN Xpress project, a major proposed gas expansion in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. GTN Xpress would push more Canadian fracked gas through an aging pipeline despite objections from Oregon, Washington, and California.
Oregon’s lead utility regulators have a key role to play in determining whether Northwest ratepayers foot the bill for this unnecessary and risky pipeline expansion. Cascade Natural Gas is one of the main customers for GTN Xpress, and Oregon’s Public Utility Commission (OPUC) is responsible for protecting ratepayers and the public from destructive, unnecessary fracked gas projects.
Join us in urging the OPUC to push back on Cascade Natural Gas and TC Energy’s plans to expand fracked gas in the Northwest by commenting on Cascade’s Integrated Resource Plan.
Communities across the Northwest are resisting the gas industry’s expansion plans for good reasons: the risks from GTN Xpress extend beyond ratepayers’ wallets. The company that owns the aging GTN pipeline, TC Energy, was responsible for a major pipeline rupture and oil spill from its Keystone oil pipeline in December 2022. The spill may have been exacerbated by TC Energy’s decision to increase the flow of oil in the Keystone pipeline. Now, with Cascade’s help, TC Energy hopes to push more fracked gas through its GTN pipeline in Oregon. More flammable, climate-changing fuel in the same old pipeline? It’s a bad plan, and Oregon’s lead regulators should hold Cascade accountable.