Pacific Northwest Gas Pipeline Project Gets Green Light from Biden Admin Despite Opposition From Democrats And Environmentalists
The nation’s primary energy regulatory authority has granted approval to a prominent energy developer to advance a natural gas expansion initiative in the Pacific Northwest.
Gas Transmission Northwest XPress Project
On Thursday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a certificate for the Gas Transmission Northwest XPress Project (GTNXP), which is designed to upgrade three existing compressor stations and augment capacity on an established system that has facilitated the transportation of natural gas for many years. GTNXP’s developer, TC Energy, as well as Republican legislators in Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, and labor unions, had all advocated for FERC to grant the certificate.
Playing A Critical Role
“The GTN XPress project will play a critical role in keeping energy affordable and reliable for consumers in California and the Pacific Northwest,” remarked TC Energy spokesperson Michael Tadeo to Fox News Digital. “We appreciate FERC’s bipartisan action today to approve the project and will work diligently to place it into service as soon as possible.”
Powering Around 500,000 More Homes
As per TC Energy’s application submitted to FERC in October 2021, the $75 million project will leverage existing infrastructure to raise GTN’s incremental mainline capacity by 150,000 dekatherms per day – a quantity sufficient to power approximately 500,000 additional homes in the region. The operational GTN pipeline traverses Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, serving customers in California.
Supplying Essential Gas Resources
This project, primarily encompassing software and other enhancements to TC Energy’s pre-existing infrastructure, arises in response to a 26% rise in the demand for natural gas transportation on the GTN pipeline system in recent years, coinciding with a decrease in local natural gas production. The pipeline supplies essential gas resources to utility companies, which, in turn, provide energy to residential, commercial, and industrial consumers.
'The Right Decision'
“After I led a bicameral group of my colleagues in urging FERC to act, I’m glad the commission is finally allowing this much-needed energy project to move forward,” stated Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, R-Ore., in a comment to Fox News Digital. “It will support domestic energy production and boost our energy security while also helping lower utility bills for families. Although it’s overdue, this is the right decision.”
Urging Immediate Approval
Earlier this month, Rep. Chavez-DeRemer, along with fellow Oregon GOP Rep. Cliff Bentz, four additional House Republicans, and Idaho GOP Senators Mike Crapo and James Risch, composed a letter addressed to FERC leadership.
In the letter, they strongly urged the immediate approval of the pipeline expansion project, emphasizing its benefits for their constituents, contributions to climate objectives, and provision of “energy certainty” for the region.
There Were Delays
This letter was drafted following multiple instances where FERC, under the chairmanship of Democrat Willie Phillips, appointed by President Biden, chose to delay approval for the project without providing any rationale. These delays occurred amidst mounting pressure from Democrats and environmental organizations urging the rejection of the project.
'Moving Away From Fossil Fuels'
In July, FERC unexpectedly removed the project from its open-meeting agenda, offering no explanation. On the eve of that meeting, Democratic Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden wrote to the regulatory body, advocating for the project’s rejection and asserting that the states through which the pipeline passes are “moving away from fossil fuels.”
A Sharp Response
The commission once again refrained from discussing the proposal during its subsequent meeting on September 21, prompting a sharp response from TC Energy.
A Letter From TC Energy's Executive VP
“The Commission’s continued inaction has almost certainly exposed GTN’s customers, who serve residential and commercial natural gas and electricity users, to more expensive supply sources to meet their load demands this winter,” wrote Stanley Chapman III, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer of Natural Gas Pipelines Division at TC Energy, in a letter addressed to FERC commissioners after the September meeting.
Chapman further remarked, “As experience in California and elsewhere shows, delaying natural gas infrastructure projects hurts energy reliability and affordability and burdens families, small businesses, and other energy users.”
He continued, saying, “These types of delays in Commission action also erode the kind of certainty and predictability that gas infrastructure developers rely on for planning, financing, and constructing projects that are in the public’s interest.”