When the days get shorter and the air gets colder we turn to our thermostats and bump up the heat. We plug our phones in to charge, walk beneath street lights that keep us safe. Electricity has been synonymous with modern life since the moment it was invented, and despite the fact that so much of it is fueled by natural gas, there is still major pushback against expanding natural gas infrastructure.
More than half of all power in New England (55%), California (60%), New York (57%) and Florida (67%) comes from natural gas resources, but these states consistently oppose pipelines that can bring them the natural gas that they need They want to have their cake and eat it too. The worries are about the environmental impacts of pipelines, of increased emissions with greater access to natural gas. Despite their concerns, natural gas consumption is increasing while CO2 emissions are dropping. And even though much of the media coverage is focused on pipeline protests, the pipeline buildout is on.
Natral gas is moving towards supplying 50 percent of all Americans’ power, and in doing so has led to drastic drops in our CO2 emissions from the power sector, which now stand at 30-year lows. Despite this, regions like New England oppose expanding infrastructure that could bring them the resource that provides nearly 60 percent of their power, forcing them to import liquid gas from foreign countries like Yemen. Why import something that we have plenty of right here at home?
The Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) approved nearly 40 new pipelines in 2016, amounting to $10 billion in new investments. Most of these pipelines are set to be built in the Northeast, concentrating on the Marcellus and Utica shales. The Mariner East 2 pipeline, for example, transports natural gas in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. These new pipelines are so instrumental to the natural gas market, that when the Rover pipeline in Ohio had construction halted last month, natural gas prices soared to 14-week highs.
Expanding pipeline infrastructure to carry natural gas to a wider range of regions will benefit economies and lower heating costs. States rich in this natural resource, like Ohio, are beginning to reach their maximum capacity for exporting gas to other states.
The GAIN coalition strongly supports the addition of infrastructure that would allow the United States to take full advantage of our own resources, promote energy independence, and help benefit all Americans.