Dan Serres of Columbia Riverkeeper did a great presentation to 350PNW folks last fall on this. Now it’s time to speak up to our Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission – by January 20th. Please take some time to review this information if you aren’t already aware of this project. Sample comments are at the bottom of this email.
A coalition of groups in WA and OR has been asking for help to stop the expansion of the GTN Express pipeline. ( Excellent Sightline Article here. )
Communities across the Northwest are resisting Cascade Natural 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.
Please Click HERE to Email Your Comments to firstname.lastname@example.org before January 20th. (And if you are a customer of Cascade Natural Gas, please include that information at the beginning of your comments. You may wish to mention your concern that ratepayers may end up paying for the company’s plans to use fracked gas from the GTN expanded pipeline.)
This is likely the only official avenue we have at this time to stop this project. However, do stay tuned for other actions we may collectively take to pressure other policy makers in the near future.
NOTE — Upcoming webinar to learn more and get further involved in stopping the GTN expanded pipeline: Tuesday, January 17th, at 7:00 p.m. Please register here.
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’s 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’s 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-changing pollution, and costs to ratepayers.
Thank you for your work to help Washington chart an equitable path away from reliance on fossil gas.