Recently, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave a favorable environmental impact statement to another pipeline expansion project. This one, the Southeastern Trail Expansion Project for the Williams’ Transco pipeline, runs all the way from Pennsylvania to Texas’s Gulf Coast. Despite its massive size, this pipeline project probably sounds unfamiliar. That's because industry doesn't want you to know about it.
In fact, the project has received little to no press coverage. And Virginia residents were never really alerted about the public comment period, which has already ended. If you Google it, the first several results take you straight to the Williams Energy website, where you’re being fed whatever narrative fits the corporation’s agenda.
The rapid expansion of fracked gas infrastructure threatens to lock the U.S. -- and the world -- into decades more of fossil fuel reliance, making it impossible to keep ourselves below the warming threshold above which the climate goes completely haywire. Of course, the path of least resistance for fossil fuel companies is one that doesn’t allow the public to resist. By keeping fossil fuel projects under wraps, corporations are hoping they can avoid challenges from the very communities these projects run through.
The Transco Pipeline, like many of the country’s fracked gas pipelines, connects to export stations that send the liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe. The Trump administration has hatched a reckless plan to bolster American fracking revenues by selling fossil fuels to European countries for their use.
There is one major opportunity still left for intervention. In order to proceed, the project needs permits from the right citizen regulatory boards, which receive recommendations from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Both the board members and the head of the DEQ are appointed by Governor Northam. If we can interrupt the permitting process with our petition (link below), we could still have a chance to stop this disastrous expansion from moving forward.
Meanwhile, Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate extension and corresponding compressor station are still awaiting approval from FERC, after which point it would go on to seek permits from state agencies. This would mean yet another carbon-intensive fossil fuel infrastructure project placed in the midst of vulnerable Virginia communities. While we have a window to put pressure on Northam’s agencies, we must do everything in our power to halt this project.
For the health and safety of our communities, we deserve at least the information and opportunity to protest these projects. Pipelines and compressor stations pollute our air and water, causing leakages that can be disastrous and take years to clean up. Fracked gas infrastructure adds to U.S. carbon emissions, which speed up global warming and spell out catastrophe for our planet.
Voice your opposition to the Transco expansion now by adding your name to our sign-on letter.