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FERC Releases 'Utterly Insufficient Review' for Mountain Valley Pipeline

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FERC Releases 'Utterly Insufficient Review' for Mountain Valley Pipeline
Black Shogun / iStock

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released its Final Environmental Impact Statement Friday for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a controversial 303-mile pipeline that would carry two billion cubic feet of fracked gas per day from West Virginia through Virginia.


As has been the pattern at FERC, the review fails to adequately assess whether the pipeline is needed in the first place, while sweeping aside the project's serious threats to water resources, the safety of communities and the climate.

Oil Change International research analyst Kelly Trout had the following response to FERC's deeply flawed climate assessment:

In this utterly insufficient review, FERC ignores both science and economics to sweep aside the Mountain Valley Pipeline's significant climate impact. FERC severely undercounts climate pollution by ignoring methane leakage across the gas supply chain, which makes gas as dirty or dirtier than coal, and by omitting emissions from upstream fracking. FERC also wrongly assumes that gas supplied by the project is likely to replace coal, when it's just as likely to lock out the clean energy and efficiency alternatives we urgently need.

If FERC was doing its job, it would find the Mountain Valley Pipeline will cause an unacceptable increase in climate pollution and reject this dirty project. A proper analysis shows that this pipeline will cause as much climate pollution as 26 coal plants per year. This project is the last thing we need in the face of worsening heatwaves and flooding, and when clean alternatives are readily available now.

Concerned residents continue to fight this dirty pipeline because it's a clear threat to local livelihoods, clean water and our climate. It's time for FERC to completely overhaul its pipeline review process to prioritize the safety of communities and our climate, not the profits of corporate polluters.

In a recent study, Oil Change International found that the Mountain Valley Pipeline will cause nearly 90 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution per year, which is the equivalent of 26 coal plants or 19 million vehicles on the road. The study applied a gas pipeline climate methodology that is based on the latest analysis of the lifecycle pollution of fracked gas from the Appalachian Basin.

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