WHY ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS ARE GETTING INVOLVED
Over the past couple of years, the natural gas industry has be aggressively marketing their fuel as a clean, green alternative; many of you have probably seen their television campaigns. So why are environmental organizations like The Sierra Club fighting the buildout of new gas infrastructure around the country, particularly in New England? Because natural gas is not as ‘natural’ as they are touting it to be.
A recent report released by The Sierra Club documents the environmental threat that proposed pipeline expansions would pose to our climate and clean air and water. The report states, “The science is clear: from extraction to production to consumption, gas is a dirty and dangerous fuel that produces significant amounts of pollution, threatens our climate, our clean air and water, and the health of our communities.” The organization also put out a press release stating, “We must reject any new proposed gas infrastructure buildout and plans for expansion.”
On a local level, the Access Northeast project, a proposed pipeline to bring more natural gas into Connecticut and other New England states, is being fought by local environmental groups. A recent report sponsored by a coalition of environmental and consumer groups, including The Sierra Club of Connecticut, Connecticut Fund for the Environment and many others, makes strong conclusions against the project which has been stalled since last year due to opposition of ratepayer funding. Mary Klein, Chair of The Sierra Club of Connecticut states, “the pipeline costs will be more than double what the utilities claim, consumer’s electric bills will go up not down, and the pipelines will be underused and unneeded.”
While these environmental organizations have been using these reports as a way to educate public officials of the negative effects that expanded pipelines would bring, our own association, the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association has concurrently been educating officials about Bioheat. With emissions of greenhouse gases from Bioheat being lower than those from natural gas, this debunks natural gas from being the clean, green alternative that many pipeline expansion projects are based on.