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Yesterday, the Sierra Club—including its Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming Chapters—Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Air Council, Columbia Riverkeeper, Delaware Riverkeeper, Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, Shenandoah Riverkeeper and Upper Green River Alliance, submitted technical comments to the Department of Energy (DOE) responding to a flawed economic study of exporting natural gas conducted by NERA Consulting.
The DOE is using the NERA study to inform its decision on whether to approve 16 applications for developing export liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals. Together, the pending applications would add export capacity for immense volumes of gas equivalent to about 45 percent of current domestic production. The increased demand for natural gas in the domestic and global markets would mean more fracking by oil and gas companies, which already exploit exemptions from major federal environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.
“The DOE has a responsibility to protect the public interest,” says Deb Nardone, Beyond Natural Gas campaign director. “We need DOE to redo this flawed study to ensure serious considerations are made to protect our environment, public health and the economy before acting on LNG export proposals.”
The comments include recommendations for DOE to:
- Reject NERA Consulting’s flawed economic report on LNG exports, which shows that the primary effect of exporting LNG would be a transfer of wealth from the majority of Americans to a small minority of oil and gas corporations and their shareholders. NERA’s study states that many wage earners would be affected by rising energy costs and loss of jobs in a variety of sectors, yet concludes that exports are in the public interest;
- Redo the economic study, taking into account the real costs of exporting LNG from the U.S., including environmental and health impacts, as well as loss of jobs across many affected industries;
- Complete a full environmental impact analysis for exporting natural gas, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. As the Environmental Protection Agency has repeatedly advised DOE, a comprehensive environmental impact statement is essential to understanding the public health and environmental implications of increased domestic fracking.
For more information on why policymakers and the public need fair analysis and disclosure of the risks of LNG export before deciding whether to allow exports, read the Sierra Club’s Look Before the LNG Leap report.
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.