Department of Energy LNG reports ignore the latest science on fracking and climate change
Washington, D.C. — The Americans Against Fracking coalition and allied organizations sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz today expressing deep concern with the Department of Energy’s flawed draft reports on LNG exports that will drive policy decisions and have impacts on the climate and U.S. communities.
“The Department of Energy’s flawed reports ignore recent science in a disingenuous effort to justify exporting LNG overseas in the lead-up to the mid-term elections. This pandering to the natural gas industry will exacerbate climate change and pave the way for Big Oil and Gas to turn more U.S. communities into fracking sacrifice zones,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “The Government’s job is to protect the people, not play fast and loose with the facts for the oil and gas industry, so the administration must fix these flawed reports.”
One of the reports, the Department of Energy’s Greenhouse Gas lifecycle report, significantly underestimates methane leakage associated with the production, processing and transport of natural gas. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas: 86 times more potent than CO2 over a 20-year time frame and 34 times more potent than CO2 over a 100 year time frame, according to the 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. A key finding in a range of recent peer-reviewed studies is that more than 3 percent of natural gas leaks into the atmosphere, and potentially more than 7 percent. Additional leakage occurs during liquefaction. Without justification, the report uses a range of 1.1 to 1.6 percent. This low range leads DOE to significantly understate the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas.
“When it comes to the climate, exporting LNG entails all of the negative climate change repercussions of drilling and fracking but even worse considering how energy-intensive it is to liquefy natural gas, transport it overseas, re-gasify it, transport and ultimately burn it,” Bill Snape, Senior Counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Unfortunately, the Department of Energy’s draft report ignores the recent science and comes to bogus conclusions. If President Obama is going to keep his promise to lead on climate change, he needs to look at the science and reject any more LNG export facilities.
A second draft report on the environmental review of exporting LNG identifies many risks related to unconventional gas production but fails to perform a comprehensive analysis of these risks. Further, the Department of Energy’s draft report fails to call for additional research and dismissively asserts that impacts are not well understood or cannot be predicted. This is of little comfort to those who are living in areas where intense gas production occurs. Widespread accounts of pollution, accidents and illnesses from drilling and fracking activities throughout the United States point to a system of lax regulatory oversight and broken regulatory enforcement.
Steve Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change International said, “Exporting LNG will increase the market for fracked gas, meaning more fracking, more profits for the industry, and more health and environmental risks for millions of Americans. President Obama and Secretary Moniz must start standing up to industry and for the health of all Americans – which means fixing these grossly flawed draft reports – and ultimately, rejecting these LNG export proposals.”
Fracking carries significant environmental, economic and public health effects. Last week, health experts and scientific researchers with Concerned Health Professionals of New York released a major new compilation – a Compendium – of the scientific, medical and media findings demonstrating risks and harms of fracking. Referencing hundreds of recent studies and reports, the Compendium makes it clear that drilling and fracking operations pose significant risks and harms to nearby residents. This document was sent to the Department of Energy today along with the letter.
John Armstrong, Frack Action, 607-220-4632
Darcey Rakestraw, Food & Water Watch, 202-683-2467
Americans Against Fracking is a broad-based coalition composed of more than 200 national, state and local organizations united by concerns about the health, environmental, social and economic impacts of fracking. For more information about Americans Against Fracking, visit www.AmericansAgainstFracking.org.