EPA Urges FERC to Follow Pseudoscience in its Review of Pipeline Applications

What’s the issue?

The Associate Administrator for the EPA’s Office of Policy filed comments last week with regard to TC Energy’s North Baja Xpress Project that asserts the project will result in $14.1 billion in “climate damages” if FERC allows it to move forward.

Why does it matter?

The method used by EPA to calculate the damages is divorced from reality. But if it were adopted by FERC, it would almost certainly lead to the rejection of all pipeline expansion projects because the benefits from such projects would almost certainly never outweigh the extreme “climate damages” calculated through the use of the EPA’s proposed methodology.

What’s our view?

There is simply no basis for the EPA’s methodology. If FERC were to adopt it as a methodology, even in its consideration of a project under NEPA, a reviewing court would likely reject that analysis as being arbitrary and capricious. But the fact that the Biden administration’s EPA has put forth such a pseudo-scientific calculation should be disconcerting to everyone who puts their faith in fact-based analysis. A fact-based analysis of historical impacts from the last 25 years of pipeline expansions shows that those expansions likely resulted in a climate benefit, that if applied to the Northern Baja Xpress Project, would show it provides almost $1 billion in climate benefits, if measured in a manner similar to the EPA’s method.

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