Expanding natural gas in Vermont moves us in the wrong direction to address climate change. The expansion increases greenhouse gas emissions, compounding Vermont’s contribution to climate change.
In detailed testimony filed with the Vermont Public Service Board, Conservation Law Foundation explained that the simplistic evaluation by Vermont Gas that the expansion will reduce emissions is simply wrong. Testimony from Dr. Elizabeth Stanton shows on pages 18-19 that expanding natural gas increases emissions more than three million tons over 100 years and brings environmental costs of an additional $76,000,000.
This project is not a good deal for Vermont.
Dr. Elizabeth Stanton shows that the emissions from the full life-cycle of the project result in significant increases in global warming pollution. This project will be around for a long time as will its greenhouse gases. Dr. Stanton explains on pg 9:
“The natural gas life cycle is the set of all processes related to the use of natural gas from its extraction, processing, and distribution, to its end-use combustion. Life-cycle analyses are studies that determine the upstream and downstream consequences of a particular product or service used by consumers.”
Its overall emissions include leaks of methane, a gas 25 to 72 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to climate change.
Testimony by Dr. Jon Erickson, Dean of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont shows that expanding gas results in locking us in to fossil fuels at a time our climate and energy goals require moving the opposite direction. He states at pg 6:
“Any expansion of the delivery of natural gas to customers in Vermont has the potential to substitute for other nonrenewable, carbon-based fuels (such as fuel oil), but also has the potential to displace current and future uses of renewable energy (such as wood-based home heating or district heating).”
His testimony goes on to state at pg 8:
“Beyond GHG-related risk, the extraction of natural gas supplies is using increasingly environmentally damaging procedures such as hydro-fracking, a practice that Vermont has temporarily banned within State borders. Environmental regulation in other States and Canadian Provinces poses a risk to the long-term stability of natural gas supplies.”
Let’s be honest. Increasing our reliance on fossil fuels, including natural gas, is a bad move.