The Biden administration just approved exports from the Alaska LNG project, another carbon bomb that will lock us into 30 more years of planet-warming emissions. This massive $38 billion project involves building an 800-mile natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to an export terminal in Nikiski. The project will emit 2.7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions throughout its lifetime, ten times the amount of the Willow Project.
The Alaska LNG pipeline would have devastating impacts on the climate crisis, as well as the environment and communities in its path. The project would contribute significantly to the production and consumption of fossil fuels, exacerbating the climate crisis. While the project promises economic benefits, the potential harm to local communities and the environment cannot be overlooked.
The construction of the pipeline would require extensive land and water use. The proposed pipeline route would cross over 800 miles of untouched Alaskan wilderness, including rivers, wetlands, and critical habitats for fish and wildlife, including the endangered beluga whale. The pipeline would require the construction of new roads, bridges, and access points, which would further fragment these vital ecosystems and open up lands for extractive industries. Most importantly, the project would infringe on the traditional lands of many Indigenous peoples, disrupting cultural practices and threatening their subsistence way of life.
The pipeline would drastically contribute to climate change by enabling the production and consumption of fossil fuels. The pipeline would transport natural gas, primarily composed of methane, a potent greenhouse gas 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide, over a 20-year period. Not if, but when the pipeline was to leak or experience a rupture, it could release significant quantities of methane into the atmosphere, exacerbating global warming and fueling the climate crisis.
While some proponents of the project have suggested that the pipeline could help address a potential gas shortage in Cook Inlet, this claim is debatable. The gas from the pipeline is primarily intended for export, with the majority of the liquefied natural gas destined for markets in Asia. The LNG pipeline is not currently designed to provide gas to local markets, and any gas supplied to Cook Inlet would likely be at a premium price. And while the state is required by Alaska State Statute 37.05.610 to develop infrastructure to areas of the state that do not have direct access to the pipeline, the current plan is to transition the pipeline to private parties for construction and operations in 2023. When Santos, one of Australia’s biggest domestic gas suppliers, began exporting large volumes of gas out of the domestic market in the first half of 2022, it drove domestic prices above export prices.
Moreover, the amount of gas that would be available to the Cook Inlet region from the Alaska LNG pipeline is uncertain. The project is expected to produce up to 20 million tons of LNG per year, but it is unclear how much of this gas would be available for domestic use, let alone for the Cook Inlet region.
The best way to address a gas shortage in Cook Inlet is to invest in renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures, not building a pipeline that won’t be producing until 2030, as we are currently on track to run out of gas by 2027. By reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and transitioning to cleaner energy sources, we can create a more resilient and sustainable energy system that meets the needs of all Alaskans without compromising the health of our environment or exacerbating the climate crisis.
This is yet another betrayal by the Biden administration against our people, our planet, and future generations – adding to a growing list of oil and gas projects approved on Biden’s watch. This project is at complete odds with the rapid decarbonization that our planet desperately needs and the clean energy transition President Biden promised.
What can Biden do now? Biden still has the authority to revoke this decision – just as he can revoke his decision to approve the Willow project. Both projects are still a long way from being completed. Biden promised rapid decarbonization, and we can still hold him accountable to those promises. Please TAKE ACTION and ask Biden to revoke the federal permits for these climate-killing projects before they can break ground.
We must urgently transition away from fossil fuels to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis. The potential harm to the land, water, communities, and the planet from the Alaska LNG pipeline is too great to ignore. We must prioritize a sustainable future and invest in renewable energy sources to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and limit our contribution to the climate crisis. We must choose now!