A globally prominent expert on methane’s impacts on the climate is urging Governor Roy Cooper and Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good to lead a cooperative effort for North Carolina to help slow the global climate emergency. In a letter signed by 40 former EPA officials from this state, Dr. Drew Shindell said lessons from the ongoing pandemic and the cancelled Atlantic Coast fracked gas Pipeline (ACP) provide a critically important opportunity to spring forward to a more equitable and economically timely “new normal” while a return to business as usual could be disastrous.
Methane, Fracked Gas & Climate
Methane (the main component in natural gas) is 100 times as bad for the climate as carbon dioxide over the short term. Less CO2 is emitted by natural gas than by coal when burned. But significant leakage of methane before burning makes gas a disaster for the climate, even as utilities and the gas industry are feverishly promoting fracked gas.
NC WARN is working hard to connect the dots between climate change, methane leakage and the fracking boom that is driven by demand from the electric power industry.
“Everything You Need to Know About Methane”, a primer by Earthjustice.
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As a long-awaited hearing begins next Monday, attorneys for NC WARN and allies will firmly oppose Duke Energy’s request for yet another electricity rate hike even as the Utilities Commission’s Public Staff and other parties recently announced settlements with Duke on portions of the rate request.
See coverage by WFAE
A coalition of environmental groups have petitioned N.C. regulators to rule Duke Energy and other utilities must get regulatory approval before modifying coal plants to burn natural gas. Jim Warren, executive director of the Durham-based watchdog group NC WARN, which is one of the petitioners, says it appears Duke is “spending millions on Band-Aids for coal plants instead of retiring them.”
Climate-justice groups filed a legal petition with the North Carolina Utilities Commission today asserting that Duke Energy — one of the top polluting U.S. utilities — is violating state law by quietly building large amounts of inefficient gas-burning capacity without commission approval.
See coverage of our petition in The Charlotte Business Journal
While Dominion Energy and Duke Energy recently canceled the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) that had been planned to carry fracked gas from West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina, number of large epoxy-coated steel pipes for the project that remain stored improperly outside, posing immediate toxic risks to nearby communities and increasing the risk of explosion if the pipes are eventually used elsewhere: 80,000
In a monumental victory for impacted communities, lead developers Duke Energy and Dominion Energy put an end to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on July 5, citing ballooning costs and increasing legal uncertainty. At time of death, the 600-mile proposed pipeline was nearly $3 billion over budget, three years behind schedule and lacked eight required permits.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline was cancelled last week, but 80,000 large steel pipes have been stored improperly for over four years, posing an immediate risk of toxic air and water exposures to multiple communities and increasing the risk of a catastrophic gas explosion if the pipes are used at another project. That’s according to a report by a career state regulator being filed today with NC Department of Environmental Quality secretary Michael Regan.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been canceled amid economic uncertainty following years of controversy. Since 2014, the 600-mile natural gas pipeline that would have crossed eastern North Carolina has sparked debate on its environmental and economic impact.
The proposed natural gas pipeline through eastern North Carolina is dead. Long live natural gas! Admittedly, there won’t be a coronation ceremony like there would be if a living monarch were replacing a deceased one.But when it comes to reliable, affordable and environmentally friendly ways to power a 21st-century economy, natural gas is still king. Its reign will continue for many decades, despite the successful effort by left-wing activists to litigate the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to death.
Critics of a proposed natural gas pipeline through the Triad’s eastern perimeter say it could meet an end similar to the recently scrapped Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The same economic and societal forces that doomed the so-called ACP could affect the proposed MVP Southgate pipeline in Rockingham and Alamance counties, they believe.