To the editor:
The fossil fuel industry never learns from its “boom-and-bust” history. Headlines like this hype industry claims for future pipeline construction: “$44B needed annually through 2035.” But NEXUS struggled to get contracts for more than half its capacity. If opponents succeed in blocking the conversion to natural gas of two Michigan coal-fired generating plants (which President Donald Trump wants to keep operating) instead of using solar and wind, the need for NEXUS disappears.
Many “fracked shale gas” drilling companies are heavily in debt, so they keep looking for handouts, such as the bill again on Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s desk to refund more than $250 million in Ohio sales taxes to the fracking industry. Hopefully our governor will veto it.
The industry acknowledges it can only become profitable by exporting natural gas and/or by converting a fracking byproduct, ethane, to plastics. But Trump’s trade war has thrown both these options into confusion – and also forced the industry to seek waivers from his tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Russia and other nations are rushing to take the global LNG market away from the U.S. and a Chinese proposal to invest $83.7 billion in petrochemical production to West Virgina has been withdrawn, stifling a plan to boost Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania economies by making the Appalachian basin a rival to the Gulf Coast refining industry, with all the stench of its health-threatening air and water pollution.
Pressure is building on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to assess the full environmental impact of new pipelines and to discern their real economic need. If FERC was not delaying the appeal by the city of Oberlin and others for a re-hearing of the NEXUS license, construction could be halted. To submit comments on FERC’s review process, call its help line: 866-208-3676.