Environmental and consumer advocacy organizations have come out against a proposed natural gas pipeline project that would link potential gas-fired electric units to a natural gas network.
The Sierra Club and the Citizens Action Coalition have come out in opposition to the proposed construction of a 24-mile Texas Gas Transmission LLC pipeline connecting Robards, Kentucky to two possible new gas-fired electric generating units at CenterPoint Energy’s A.B. Brown Generating Station in Posey County.
CenterPoint Energy has not received approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, the agency that approves energy projects in the state, and the possibility exists that construction of the new units could be denied, making the Texas Gas Transmission project a pipeline to nowhere.
Texas Gas Transmission also wants the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency in charge of reviewing and approving interstate energy projects, to approve the project without having to complete an environmental impact statement.
The Sierra Club has submitted comments to FERC, saying that the proposed pipeline would cause additional environmental impacts to parts of Indiana and Kentucky that are already bearing a disproportionate share of pollution.
“[T]he Commission must perform a careful study via an [environmental impact statement] to assure that the full damage of this unneeded pipeline project is understood before the Commission acts on the application. Further, it is critical that the commission carefully scrutinize the representations made by Texas Gas given the company’s obvious financial interest in a continued build out of gas infrastructure, an interest that is in opposition to the public’s interest in a habitable climate,” the Sierra Club said in its comments.
The Sierra Club said the project could further harm air quality in Indiana, a state ranking near the top for emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide despite a comparatively low population.
The Citizens Action Coalition also opposes the pipeline project and has also requested an environmental impact statement be required as part of the application process.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service have warned the pipeline project could cause significant impacts to animal and plant species.
The groups and agencies said the project could also affect wetlands in Indiana, a state with only 15% of its original wetlands remaining. State lawmakers recently repealed protections for more than half of the state’s 800,000 remaining wetland acres under state jurisdiction, although that ruling is now in question.