FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 8, 2021
Oil Change International Responds to Mountain Valley Pipeline on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Analysis in FERC Docket
Response defends original analysis, confirms enormous impact of the MVP project, and highlights the many false assumptions that have caused FERC to ignore gas pipeline GHGs
WASHINGTON, DC — Oil Change International filed a robust response to the Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC’s (MVP) letter of October 6, 2021 in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Docket Nos. CP16-10-000 and CP21-57-000, in which MVP described our 2017 analysis of the pipeline’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as using “extreme inputs and assumptions” which the company claimed, “falsely inflates their emissions estimates”.
Our response clearly lays out how we used the best available, peer-reviewed literature at the time, and confirms:
- The greenhouse gas pollution from the Mountain Valley Pipeline Project would be very substantial, even considering more recent estimates of methane leakage in the U.S. oil and gas supply chain;
- The use of the 20-year global warming potential for methane from the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report is an appropriate value, and perhaps the most appropriate value, for reporting methane’s climate impact in relation to a pipeline’s lifecycle emissions; and
- It is correct to attribute to the pipeline’s lifecycle emissions the downstream combustion of the gas it proposes to carry.
We further detail that there is today no consensus on the amount of methane emissions coming from the U.S. oil and gas industry, but that there is wide agreement among experts that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data the industry prefers to use substantially underestimates the problem. We therefore defend our use of peer-reviewed studies that have synthesized data from multiple studies to come to a national average.
We point out that if we were to use the Alvarez et al. study cited by MVP — which was yet to be published at the time of our publication — the total lifecycle emissions from MVP would be 72.35 million metric tons CO2-equivalent annually. This figure is just 20% less than our original estimate, and is still equivalent to the yearly emissions from over 18 average U.S. coal plants. Therefore, we stand by our conclusion that the project would cause significant harm to the climate and its permit should never have been issued.