The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today for the first time assessed the significance of a proposed natural gas pipeline project’s greenhouse gas emissions and their contribution to climate change.
In approving Northern Natural Gas Company’s (Northern Natural) request to build and operate 87.3 miles of replacement natural gas pipeline facilities, the Commission found, based on the record, that the project’s greenhouse gas emissions would not be significant. Northern Natural’s South Sioux City to Sioux Falls A-line Replacement Project will enhance safety, security and operational efficiency of Northern Natural’s pipeline system in South Dakota and Nebraska.
FERC’s approach to natural gas project greenhouse gas emissions has been the subject of disagreement among the commissioners for several years. FERC Chairman Rich Glick praised today’s compromise.
“Going forward, we are committed to treating greenhouse gas emissions and their contribution to climate change the same as all other environmental impacts we consider,” Glick said. “A proposed pipeline’s contribution to climate change is one of its most consequential environmental impacts and we must consider all evidence in the record—both qualitative and quantitative—to assess the significance of that impact. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues as we refine our methods for doing so.”