Biden Administration Approves Key Pacific Northwest Gas Pipeline

( – Despite incessant pushback from Democratic members of Congress, the Biden administration greenlit the Gas Transmission Northwest XPress Project (GTNXP) on October 19. The project will provide necessary upgrades to compressor substations but will also increase the system’s capacity. The approval comes just three months after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) pulled discussion of the project from its meeting agenda after receiving a letter from Oregon United States Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden. The senators urged FERC to deny the certificate, claiming that the states that are served by the pipeline are “moving away from fossil fuels.”

Republican lawmakers and TC Energy, the developer for GTNXP, previously urged the FERC to approve the project. Local labor unions also backed the GTNXP. The pipeline will primarily serve the state of California, but the expansion will be beneficial for several states in the Pacific Northwest. Idaho, Oregon, and Washington will see a boost to their economies from the project. TC Energy spokesperson Michael Tadeo applauded the FERC’s decision, stating that the company “will work diligently to place it into service as soon as possible.” According to the original application to the FERC, the project will have a $75 million price tag and will provide 150,000 additional dekatherms of energy per day. That increase will supply power to more than 500,000 homes in California.

Climate activist groups in the region expressed frustration toward the Biden administration for approving the project, adding it to the list of so-called failures to prioritize the climate. Oregon Democratic Governor Tina Kotek expressed her disappointment on X, formerly Twitter, in a video message. Washington Democratic Governor Jay Inslee released a statement of disapproval upon news of FERC’s decision, vowing to fight it. Senator Merkley and Washington Democratic Senator Patty Murray were outraged, with Murray claiming that her constituents could be harmed by the pipeline’s expansion. Merkley said that the expansion was not necessary and would be dangerous to the climate.

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