(CN) – A Canadian energy company could see its plans to increase gas pipeline capacity in the Northwest come to fruition after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concluded on Friday that the project would have little negative impact on the environment – despite objections from states and environmentalists.
The final environmental impact of the regulator statement for TC Energy’s “GTN Express Project,” a plan to modify compressor stations along the Gas Transmission Northwest pipeline through Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, found the project would result in “limited negative impacts on the environment “. The agency reached the same conclusions in an earlier draft last June, after TC Energy applied to expand its pipeline in October 2021.
The project specifically offers to modify three existing compressor stations while installing new gas cooling bays, turbine compressors and associated piping at Starbuck and Kent compressor stations in Washington State. The plan would increase Canada’s gas throughput by 150 million cubic feet per day.
Opponents of the project say increasing methane in the region would emit 3.47 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year for at least the next 30 years.
“This is equivalent to adding 754,000 cars to the road each year through 2052,” Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement. statement last August, when he joined the attorneys general of California and Oregon in a motion of protest and intervention against TC’s plan to obstruct states’ efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.
“There is insufficient evidence that the project serves a public necessity or the public interest,” Ferguson wrote in the motion. “Instead, the evidence indicates that existing customers will subsidize the expansion, and the project will primarily serve the interests of Canadian gas producers in gaining market share, not the needs of US consumers.”
Additionally, conservation groups such as Columbia Riverkeeper filed a petition with the commission last August in opposition to the project, but to no effect given Friday’s decision – which acknowledged the project’s effects on climate change, if only in passing.
“With the exception of climate change impacts which are not characterized in this EIS as significant or insignificant, staff conclude that the environmental impacts of the Project would not be significant,” the panel said in its report.
For some, the final assessment is a disappointment.
“From wildfires to droughts, Columbia River communities are increasingly experiencing the impacts of climate change. That’s why West Coast states are united against GTN’s expansion plans,” said Lauren Goldberg, executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper. “FERC’s approach will make the climate crisis worse, minimizing the impacts of a proposal that will pollute our communities, affect health and safety and create millions of tons of climate pollution every year.”