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AG Ferguson Seeks to Halt Expansion of Methane gas Pipeline by Company Behind Keystone XL Pipeline

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson today filed a motion to intervene and oppose an expansion to the Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN) pipeline that runs through Washington state. Ferguson asserts the company’s requested expansion would hurt Washingtonians and increase greenhouse gasses that the state is working to reduce over the coming decades.

The pipeline expansion would transport approximately 150 million cubic feet per day additional methane gas from Canada for sale in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California. The project would emit approximately 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 on the road each year until 2052.

GTN, a subsidiary of Canada-based TC Energy, asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to allow it to expand its capacity for methane gas running through the pipeline that crosses the Pacific Northwest.

The Washington Attorney General’s Office is leading on the motion to protest and intervene against GTN’s plans. Oregon and California joined the motion.

“This project undermines Washington state’s efforts to fight climate change,” Ferguson said. “This pipeline is bad for the environment and bad for consumers.”

“The West Coast is experiencing very real impacts of climate change and leading the climate fight, so it is fitting that Oregon, Washington, and California band together on this joint motion asking FERC to take a hard look at this pipeline proposal,” said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.

“Today, I’m joining my colleagues in Washington and Oregon in calling on FERC to take a hard look at the proposed GTN pipeline expansion,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Expanding the capacity of this pipeline would have significant environmental and public health impacts and is out of step with state and federal climate goals – and FERC can’t honestly say otherwise. The reality is, when we expand gas infrastructure, it’s all too often minority, low-income, and Indigenous communities that pay the price. I urge FERC to address the deficiencies in its environmental review and comply with the law.”

GTN claims that it needs the expansion due to growing demand for methane gas in the Pacific Northwest. Ferguson asserts GTN is relying on faulty assumptions about demand for methane gas in Washington for the next three decades.

If this expansion is approved, emissions from this pipeline alone will comprise 48% of the region’s target total emissions from all sources in 2050. That will undermine the region’s efforts to reduce emissions and transition to renewable energy.

Ferguson’s motion lists three reasons FERC should not allow this expansion to move forward:

  • The company is hiding the true costs of its planned expansion and is seeking to have existing utility customers unfairly subsidize its expansion.
  • There is no public need for the increased methane gas supplies, since Washington, Oregon and California laws are reducing demand for methane gas. The project instead appears to serve Canadian gas producers’ desire for increased market share.
  • The expansion is not in the public’s interest because it will increase long-term costs for consumers, increase air pollution and potentially compound environmental justice risks in vulnerable communities near the project and worsen the effects of climate change.