Sierra Club filed technical comments on the Department of Energy’s documents discussing the environmental impacts of exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG), which the agency had released for review on May 29.
The comments underscore the Sierra Club’s contention that the DOE’s analysis is inadequate because they do not consider the effects of increased US gas production that would accompany LNG exports, including increases in greenhouse gas emissions inconsistent with the administration’s stated goal of reducing climate pollution emissions 17 percent by 2020.
Additionally, DOE incorrectly assumes in its analysis that the only effect of US LNG exports in end-use markets will be one-for-one displacement of other fossil fuel use, when exports will also prevent new clean energy like solar and wind from coming online, Sierra Club said in a statement.
Sierra Club attorney Nathan Matthews said that the Sierra Club applauds the Department of Energy for proposing to end the practice of conditionally approving LNG export applications before an environmental review has been conducted, as well as recognizing the need to consider LNG’s entire emissions footprint, from the wellhead on. “It’s never made sense to evaluate LNG exports without knowing the impact they would have on the environment and on our climate, so this announcement is a step in the right direction,” he said.
Mathews also adds: “The Department of Energy is part of an administration that wants to address climate disruption head-on. However, the DOE’s analysis of LNG lifecycle emissions falls short on several fronts. First, it needs to reflect the many recent studies that show that EPA has drastically underestimated the amount of methane leaked during gas production. Equally important, the analysis fails to take into account that LNG will displace new clean energy projects in the importing countries, and the increase in drilling and fracking to meet export demand will increase overall carbon pollution emissions, putting it at odds with the Administration’s goal to reduce carbon pollution emissions 17 percent by 2020.”
Press Release, July 23, 2014