Biden Administration Greenlights Gas Pipeline in Pacific Northwest, Delivering a Setback to Environmentalists and Democrats

The leading energy regulatory body in the country granted approval for a significant natural gas expansion initiative in the Pacific Northwest. On Thursday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a certificate for the Gas Transmission Northwest XPress Project (GTNXP), which involves enhancing three current compressor stations and boosting the capacity of an established system that has been used for transporting natural gas for many years.

TC Energy, Republican legislators from Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, and labor unions have all advocated for FERC to grant this certificate.

“The GTN XPress project will play a critical role in keeping energy affordable and reliable for consumers in California and the Pacific Northwest,” TC Energy spokesperson Michael Tadeo told Fox News Digital. “We appreciate FERC’s bipartisan action today to approve the project and will work diligently to place it into service as soon as possible.”

In TC Energy’s application submitted to FERC in October 2021, they outlined a $75 million initiative designed to maximize the utility of current infrastructure, leading to a 150,000 dekatherms per day increase in the GTN’s mainline capacity. This expansion would be sufficient to power approximately 500,000 additional households in the region. The operational GTN pipeline traverses Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, catering to the energy needs of customers in California.

The project, primarily centered on software and other enhancements to TC Energy’s existing infrastructure, responds to a 26% rise in the demand for natural gas transportation on the GTN pipeline system in recent years, coupled with a decline in nearby natural gas production. The pipeline is crucial for supplying gas to utility companies, which, in turn, provide energy to residential, commercial, and industrial consumers.

“After I led a bicameral group of my colleagues in urging FERC to act, I’m glad the commission is finally allowing this much-needed energy project to move forward,” Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, R-Ore., told Fox News Digital in a statement. “It will support domestic energy production and boost our energy security while also helping lower utility bills for families. Although it’s overdue, this is the right decision.”

Earlier this month, Chavez-DeRemer, along with fellow Oregon GOP Rep. Cliff Bentz, four other House Republicans, and Idaho GOP Senators Mike Crapo and James Risch, composed a letter to FERC leadership. They urged the immediate approval of the pipeline expansion project, emphasizing the benefits it would bring to their constituents, its role in achieving climate goals, and the assurance of “energy certainty” for the region.

This letter followed multiple delays in FERC’s approval of the project, which occurred without a stated reason, amid pressure from Democrats and environmental groups advocating for its rejection. In July, FERC removed the project from its open-meeting agenda without explanation. Just before the meeting, Democratic Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden sent a letter to the regulator, urging them to reject the project and asserting that the states through which the pipeline passes are transitioning away from fossil fuels.