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FERC Proposal on Natural Gas Pipelines Hampers Energy Transition, GHG Reduction

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Jennifer Scott
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WASHINGTON (April 26, 2022) — The American Chemistry Council (ACC) late yesterday filed comments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in response to proposed policies governing Certification of New Interstate Natural Gas Facilities and Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Natural Gas Infrastructure Project Review.

Natural gas has an important role in the U.S. economy and will remain a key fuel as the nation strives to deploy renewable energy sources and infrastructure, improve grid reliability, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. ACC’s comments explain how FERC’s proposed policies would undermine these national priorities.

Natural gas has led to historic growth in U.S. chemical manufacturing over the past decade. Plentiful and affordable domestic supplies of natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) have led to the announcement of $208 billion in capital investment since 2010. These new facilities and expansion projects are benefiting America’s economy – creating and supporting jobs while boosting payrolls and tax revenue in communities around the country.

“Access to industrial-scale natural gas supplies is crucial to the competitiveness of American chemistry,” said ACC Senior Director for Energy, Climate, and Environment Charles Franklin. “Natural gas provides much of the energy used to run complex chemical operations. Today, it is often the only adequate source of the heat energy available to chemical plants for cracking and other heat-intensive processes.”

Chemistry and plastics-based solutions and technologies are used in carbon capture and use (CCU), renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, battery storage, electric and high-efficiency vehicles, and energy-saving building materials, among other applications that help reduce GHG emissions. ACC members are reducing their own emissions intensity. Many of those gains have come from transitioning from coal and coke to lower-carbon natural gas fuels.

“FERC’s proposal would discourage investments in expanded natural gas infrastructure that will be needed to maintain U.S. industrial production capacity and grow clean energy deployment,” Franklin continued. “Additionally, FERC’s draft GHG policies contradict its authority under relevant statutes, longstanding Commission practice and court precedent.”

FERC’s proposals essentially discourage and deprioritize natural gas development by imposing new procedural requirements and uncertain expectations. ACC urges Commissioners to reconsider the proposed policies and ensure that any changes honor FERC’s mandate to ‘encourage the orderly development of plentiful supplies of…natural gas at reasonable prices.’

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the multibillion-dollar business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products, technologies and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health, safety and security performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy addressing major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. ACC members and chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development, and are advancing products, processes and technologies to address climate change, enhance air and water quality, and progress toward a more sustainable, circular economy.

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