Ten of them. Ten down, scores more to go.
Who would have thought it could happen like this? Over just the last 10 days four major gas infrastructure projects have gone down or been significantly delayed, in Pa/NY, Pa/NY/NH/Ma, WV/Va/NC and Oregon.
Here’s the list of ten:
-April, 2014: the Bluegrass Pipeline in Kentucky is stopped by a court decision upholding landowners’ rights against the use of eminent domain to take their land for private profit
-November, 2015: the Port Ambrose LNG import (likely export) terminal is vetoed by NY Governor Cuomo
-March, 2016: the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and 223-mile Pacific Connector pipeline in Oregon are rejected by FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC’s first gas infrastructure rejection in 30 years
-March, 2016: the Republican-dominated Georgia legislature votes overwhelming for a one-year moratorium on any new gas pipelines, setting back efforts to build the Palmetto Pipeline
-March, 2016: FERC announces a seven month delay on making a decision about the Penn East pipeline (Pa and NJ) and a 10 month delay for the Atlantic Sunrise (Pa and Md) pipeline
-April, 2016: the Oregon LNG company announces that it is ending its years-long efforts to build an export terminal and pipeline
-April, 2016, this past week: Kinder Morgan announces it is suspending its efforts to build the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, which would have run from Pa. through NY into Massachusetts and New Hampshire
-April, 2016, this past week: Dominion Resources announces that the start time for beginning construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, going from WV through Virginia into NC, is being moved back from this fall to summer 2017
-April, 2016, yesterday as I write: NY Governor Cuomo announces that the state Department of Environmental Conservation is rejecting the application of the Constitution Pipeline company for a water quality permit, a permit it must have in order to begin construction
“We are actually experiencing the clean energy revolution, it’s really happening right now,” I said to my wife last evening when I heard the news about the Constitution Pipeline.
To repeat, the clean energy revolution is happening right now.
It is of the utmost significance that the movement against fracking, fracking infrastructure and FERC is winning these victories. The plan of the currently-dominant powers-that-be in the oil and gas industry and the Republican and Democratic parties is to portray methane gas, fracked gas, as a “bridge fuel” to some time in the far-off future when wind, solar and other renewables are “ready.” This is Hillary Clinton’s position, for example, stated explicitly in one of the debates with Bernie Sanders. It is also the Obama Administration’s position, as indicated most recently by its explicit support for a shift from coal to gas in the Clean Power Plan as a supposed way to shift to a cleaner energy system.
It just ain’t true. The process of fracking often contaminates nearby water sources and poisons the air for miles around. Methane, which is over 90% of what makes up natural gas, is 84 times as powerful a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide. And in the extraction, production and distribution process, whether conventional or fracked gas, methane leaks, in amounts much higher than the EPA says that it does, based on numerous independent studies over the past few years.
And wind and solar energy are very ready, as shown by the fact that in 2015 there was $367 billion invested worldwide in new renewables, mostly wind and solar, but just $253 invested in new coal, oil and gas, according to a report published two months ago by Clean Energy Canada.
Does this mean that the growing movement against fracking/fracking infrastructure/FERC can take a break, chill out for a bit? Of course not. The world is heating up even more rapidly than it was just a few years ago, and there are many more gas infrastructure projects FERC is currently dealing with. A March 24, 2016 listing at the FERC website lists 58 interstate gas pipelines on their plate.
Indeed, we need to gain strength from these victories and, with the wind shifting from a headwind to being more at our back, step up our pressure on FERC and the gas and pipeline industry. Fortunately, we have the opportunity to do just that next month during the Rubber Stamp Rebellion, coordinated by Beyond Extreme Energy and happening from May 15-22 in DC and in local communities around the country.
Let’s keep building the rebellion and the clean energy revolution!
Ted Glick is a co-founder of Beyond Extreme Energy and a climate activist since 2003. Past writings and other information can be found at http://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jtglick.