The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) are “climate disasters,” according to new studies released February 15 by Oil Change International (OCI). The studies conclude that the ACP and MVP “would together contributed a much greenhouse gas pollution as 45 coal-fired power plants – some 158 million metric tons a year.” OCI points out that the methodology that has been used in the past by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to measure climate impacts is “out of date” and “is failing to protect communities and citizens around the country.”
OCI further states:
FERC’s assessment of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted by the Atlantic Coast pipeline in the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was woefully inadequate. FERC appears to have selected data, sources and assumptions that conveniently allow it to conclude that the project “would not significantly contribute to GHG cumulative impacts or climate change.
Two fundamental flaws underpin FERC’s analysis leading to this deficient conclusion:
- Emissions from gas are assumed to be less than half those of coal;
- Upstream production and downstream consumption of gas are assumed to be unaffected by the project.
FERC cites a Department of Energy (DOE) report published in May 2014. While this report is relatively recent, the science and study of methane leakage from oil and gas production and infrastructure has moved on significantly since its publication. The report dramatically underestimates the life cycle emissions of natural gas use for power generation leading to an inaccurate conclusion that gas is consistently cleaner than coal.