The proposed $1.4 billion TransCanada natural gas line has two US government agencies on opposing corners of the ring as they duke out issues on how major energy projects in the country are reviewed.
Specifically, the US Environmental Protection Agency said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was remiss undertaking a “proper” analysis of climate change in its final assessment of the 257 kilometer Leach Xpress pipeline, according to recently filed documents.
“It’s been FERC’s decision to do a more limited scope of review” compared to EPA requirements, Tyson Slocum, a Washington-based director of energy at consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, told reporters.
The row exposed gaps at the federal level over the review process for pipelines, especially when taking climate change into account. Observers say the issue is significant especially at a time when the US gas network is undergoing expansion due to a growth phase in production.
"We view FERC’s response to our comments as very concerning,” especially in the context of the Obama administration’s new guidelines on greenhouse gas impacts, the EPA said in its letter to the commission. The agency added that it aims for "a definitive resolution to this matter before you publish a record of decision."