July 22, 2016

David Turnbull,

New Report Details Climate Threat of Proposed U.S. Natural Gas Expansion
Natural gas pipeline proposals fail the climate test

A new report out from Oil Change International, in partnership with 11 other local, regional, and national organizations, shows that current projections for U.S. natural gas production – fueled by a boom in the Appalachian Basin – will lock in enough carbon to bust through agreed climate goals.

The report, entitled, “A Bridge Too Far: How Appalachian Basin Gas Pipeline Expansion Will Undermine U.S. Climate Goals,” takes an extensive look at the climate implications of proposed natural gas infrastructure in the Appalachian Basin.

The report highlights three key facts:

  1. There are 19 key new proposed natural gas pipelines in the Appalachian basin. All of them are incompatible with the Paris target and existing US climate goals;
  2. Stopping this new supply infrastructure is critical to the keep it in the ground movement’s goals of stopping infrastructure that creates carbon lock-in; and
  3. All new energy projects must pass a climate test to prove their viability in a climate safe world. These new gas pipelines fail that test.

“There’s a strong and vital movement of people throughout Appalachia who are standing up to protect their communities and their land from pipelines and the increase in fracking they will bring” said Stephen Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change International. “This report makes it clear that all of these people are fighting for our climate too.”

The report focuses on the Appalachian Basin because it is the key source of projected natural gas production growth in the U.S. if pending projects are approved. The report recommends applying a climate test to all natural gas (and other fossil fuel) projects to ensure no projects are approved unless they are aligned with climate goals and other environmental and community hazards can be addressed.

“Expanded natural gas production is a bridge to climate disaster. Our report shows that even if we entirely eliminated emissions from coal and oil, the emissions from the natural gas boom alone would still blow our climate budget,” Kretzmann said. “This should be a wake up call to anyone promoting natural gas as a bridge to a clean energy future. Put simply, it’s not.”

The report is endorsed by the following groups:
Oil Change International
Appalachian Voices
Bold Alliance
Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Environmental Action
Sierra Club (national)
Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights (Virginia & West Virginia)
Sierra Club West Virginia chapter
Friends of Water (West Virginia)

The report can be found here:

A compilation of quotes from organizations endorsing the report follows:

“As one of the most susceptible states in the country to the devastating effects of sea-level rise, Virginia cannot afford to be locked into decades of more reliance on fossil fuels,” said Anne Havemann, General Counsel at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “This report underlines why hundreds of Virginians will march to Governor Terry McAuliffe’s house this Saturday to decry his support for the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. Real climate leadership means fighting for 100% renewable energy.”

“As a grassroots organizer, and landowner in the path of a proposed natural gas transmission pipeline, I’ve seen the ugliness of the corporate grab and greed. The fact is, rural communities are often targets for takeover only to further profits through the intention of overbuilding pipelines which are sourced from fracked gas, a dirty fossil fuel from start to finish,” said Carolyn Reilly, Community Organizer with Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL). “Truth be told, it’s a bridge to the past. It’s time to focus on a clean climate future for our children and grandchildren… we’re ready for renewable energy and the time is now.”

“The only place gas will bridge us too is more pollution and further climate disruption,” said Lena Moffitt, Director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign. “This report highlights the magnitude of the threat our climate and communities face from further expansion of gas pipelines and plants, and shows that the only solution to meeting our global climate commitment is to keep gas–like all dirty fuels–in the ground.”

“The extractive fossil fuel industries in West Virginia have notoriously brought harm to human lives as well as the environment, regionally and globally, through the extensive release of greenhouse gas emissions. It is imperative, in order to be in compliance with US climate goals, that our local, state and federal government agencies responsibly and drastically limit further fossil fuel extraction,” said Laurie Ardison, member of the Executive Committee of the West Virginia Sierra Club. “West Virginia’s economy, environmental preservation, social justice issues and citizen well-being will be best served by shifting the focus to developing statewide renewable energy resource infrastructures. We will then be acting in accordance with the goal of keeping the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius.”

“Actions show the strength and commitment of people standing up to Big Gas and their reckless pipelines. These people are fighting for their land, and our climate,” said Jane Kleeb, Bold Alliance President. “Using eminent domain for private gain is something the Cowboy and Indian Alliance stands against. We plan on using actions, prayer and all legal tools available to stop these risky pipelines.”