Join us in urging the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) 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, Docket UG-220131
Dear Chair Danner, Commissioner Rendahl, Commissioner Doumit, and Staff:
I support the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission’s (WUTC) work to decarbonize Washington’s energy supplies. The WUTC should not acknowledge any portion of Cascade Natural Gas’ Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) that will expand the presence of fracked gas in our communities. Washington is trying to reduce fracked gas use, yet Cascade’s IRP overstates potential gas demand. It also fails to account for new Washington laws and rules that will limit gas use. Additionally, Cascade’s plan 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 Washington Attorney General has objected to the GTN Xpress project and disputes Cascade’s need for the gas. The WUTC 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 Washington and Oregon. Cascade has failed to show how it will meet the requirements of Washington’s Climate Commitment Act in an efficient, cost-effective way. Additionally, in 2022, Washington established new building codes that curtail the role of gas in new buildings. Cascade’s IRP does not adequately incorporate the impact of these changes in its demand projections. Even so, Cascade’s analysis indicates that new pipeline capacity is not needed. Finally, Washington’s Attorney General has objected to the GTN Xpress project because of its negative implications for community safety and environmental justice, and the WUTC requires utilities to meet customer demand in an equitable manner. The WUTC should not allow Cascade to include GTN Xpress in its plans.
Washington is setting a course away from fracked gas, but Cascade is working to lock in additional fracked gas pipeline capacity that has negative implications for environmental justice, public safety, climate pollution, and costs to ratepayers.
Thank you for your work to help Washington chart an 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, power plants, and refineries 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.
Washington’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 Washington’s Utility and Transportation Commission (WUTC) is responsible for protecting ratepayers and the public from destructive, unnecessary fracked gas projects.
Join us in urging the WUTC 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 Washington. More flammable, climate-changing fuel in the same old pipeline? It’s a bad plan, and Washington’s lead regulators should hold Cascade accountable.