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February 07, 2012

Fighting Liquefied Natural Gas Exports

NY Fracking 3

With drilling and fracking happening at such a fast pace, natural gas companies are seeking ways to maximize profit margins by exporting their product to foreign countries.

That's why the Sierra Club has ramped up efforts to keep the industry in check, filing the first formal objection with the Department of Energy against the export of domestic gas produced from fracking. This export proposal would make a dirty fuel even more dangerous.

Although Monday's filing marked a new phase in Sierra Club's efforts, this is the third liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility the organization has opposed. Facilities in Coos Bay, Oregon, Sabine Pass, Louisiana, and Cove Point, Maryland, have all been challenged by the Sierra Club.  

"Liquefied natural gas is not only the dirtiest and most polluting form of gas, but it also requires an increase in fracking; a process we know to be unsafe and dangerous," said Deb Nardone, Director of Sierra Club's Natural Gas Reform Campaign. "The industry is pushing forward with these export facilities with their profits in mind, not the families who will bear the burden of increased fracking."

Yesterday's filing challenges the export of Marcellus shale gas and others from its Cove Point facility, citing that exports would raise gas and electricity prices nationally and expand destructive natural gas fracking. The filing also called for a full Environmental Impact Statement on the effects of increased Marcellus fracking that would be brought on by this export proposal. 

In addition to yesterday's filing, legal protests were filed in Sabine Pass, Louisiana, and Coos Bay, Oregon. On January 27th, the Sierra Club submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on their Environmental Assessment of the proposed export facility in Sabine Pass, LA. Their current assessment does not consider the damaging effect of extracting natural gas through fracking.

On January 18th, the Sierra Club and coalition partners filed an appeal of the Oregon Department of State Lands' decision to issue a dredging permit for the Port of Coos Bay that would allow the port to export dirty coal and LNG. The "multi-purpose" dredging permit could cover the Port of Coos Bay's confidential agreement with an undisclosed coal export company seeking to ship between 6 and 10 million tons of coal overseas annually, and other agreements to export domestic liquefied natural gas. 

This is one more reason why we need federal safeguards in place to protect us from fracking. Send EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson a message.

Image of drilling pad by Kate Bartholomew.

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