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Appalachian Gas Pipeline Expansion Will Raise Carbon Footprint – Study

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A study released by Oil Change International claims that expanding the natural gas pipeline network from the Appalachian Basin across the country would prevent the United Sates from reaching its goals to reduce carbon emissions.

The report indicates that the 19 expansion projects being considered right now would double the gas output from the Marcellus and Utica formations in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. The proposed new pipelines would carry the gas to power plants and consumers in the eastern United States.

Stephen Kretzmann, the executive director of Oil Change International, an environmental advocacy, commented “Expanding gas production is a bridge to climate disaster. We have a very firm, compelling international goal of 2 degrees or as close to 1.5 degrees as we can get it, and we are making energy decisions every day that aren't being measured against that goal.”

In the report, Oil Change International calls for a climate test to be made part of the permitting process to ensure that the pipelines and any other projects involving fossil fuels fall within the parameters of national climate change policies. The target number in the United States for reducing emissions is an 83 percent decrease from the levels in 2005 by 2050. According to the study, the Appalachian Basin projects would make that goal unreachable.

Jack Gerard, the president of the American Petroleum Institute countered the report in a statement, in which he said in part: “Right now, our nation is experiencing an energy renaissance. Natural gas production has increased nearly 50 percent over the last decade thanks to technological advances in hydraulic fracturing. With the increase in natural gas production, America continues to lead the world in the reduction of carbon emissions due in part to clean-burning natural gas. American consumers want an energy policy that embraces our abundant natural gas resources and it’s up to leaders at all levels of government to follow the will of the consumer.”

By Lincoln Brown for Oilprice.com

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