On a High Note: New FERC Policy Will Make New Natural Gas Pipelines Nearly Impossible
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a new policy that will require consideration of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and environmental justice impacts before new natural gas pipelines are approved. The FERC says it intends to determine whether new infrastructure projects are in the public interest by weighing the energy needs of a region against potential adverse impacts, such as air pollution or threats to groundwater. Opposing senators worry that the move will end access to cheap fossil fuels, but FERC Chairman Richard Glick says approvals are regularly vacated because the commission fails to find the pipelines necessary to provide heat and electricity.
Pipelines and natural gas facilities emit massive amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Methane, a super-polluter that can retain 86 times more heat than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period, is responsible for 30% of global warming. Still, its emissions are often miscalculated or poorly tracked. The US is the third-largest emitter of methane, and the FERC policy could help cut those emissions. FERC is in the unique position of being the only agency with the ability to regulate electric and gas markets. As carbon emissions hit the highest ever recorded, such measures to immediately cut GHG emissions should be embraced, if not celebrated.
Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition: Recent Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion in the United States Part 1, September 9, 2021.
Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition: Recent Natural Gas Pipeline Explosions Part 2, December 29, 2021.
Bloomberg: Bloomberg Green | The Dangers of Methane Gas, October 11, 2021.
WW0: Rep. Sean Casten (D-ILL) | Hot FERC Summer, October 22, 2021.