December 21, 2014

Sierra Club Announces Opposition to Massive Pipeline Proposal

For Immediate Release:                                                                           
Monday, December 22, 2014        

 Contact: Nancy Shiffler 734-971-1157
 David Holtz 313-300-4454

Sierra Club Announces Opposition to Massive Pipeline Proposal
Unneeded ET Rover Project Would Disrupt Communities, Threaten Environment

LANSING—Sierra Club today announced its opposition to a controversial massive proposed natural gas pipeline through portions of lower Michigan, calling the proposed ET Rover pipeline a project with no proven public benefit that will disrupt communities and promote climate-threatening greenhouse gas emissions.

“Michigan already has extensive capacity in terms of pipelines and storage capacity and we don’t need this massive and disruptive pipeline project that is bad for the environment, bad for communities and will make us more dependent on fossil fuels,” said Nancy Shiffler, Chair of the Michigan club’s Beyond Natural Gas and Oil Committee.

The massive Rover pipeline proposed by Energy Transfer (ET) is one of three natural gas pipelines currently proposing to bring natural gas through Ohio and Michigan and into Ontario.  FERC accepted public input in the first phase of environmental review required under federal law as part of a permitting process for the proposed ET Rover pipeline.  Sierra Club’s scoping comments cite critical environmental, social and economic issues that must be considered.  They also called on FERC to thoroughly consider alternatives such as energy conservation and renewable energy that would better serve the public interest and the environment. 

“There’s no good reason for this proposed pipeline and every reason to reject it and instead focus on providing Michigan with clean, renewable energy,” said David Holtz, Sierra Club’s Michigan Chapter Chair.  “We agree with the hundreds of Michigan residents who have shown up at town hall meetings in Genesee, Oakland, Washtenaw, Lenawee, and Macomb counties to voice their concerns and opposition to this proposed pipeline.”

Sierra Club’s comment letter told FERC that the ET Rover pipeline “is part of an attempt by the natural gas industry to find a market for its over production in the Marcellus play in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, in particular to expand exports.  There is no demonstrated need for additional natural gas capacity in Michigan or in the region in general, while the impact on the safety, economic value, and environmental health of local property owners and communities would be considerable.”

The four-page comment letter spells out local, statewide, international and global environmental effects that must be considered, ranging from impacts on fisheries in the St. Clair River to the substantial impact of increased fracking in the Marcellus shale formations.  In addition, Sierra Club points out that in 2013 that FERC and ET agreed there was no need for additional natural gas pipeline capacity for Michigan when ET sought and received permission to abandon its Trunkline pipeline which brought natural gas into Michigan’s southwestern corner.

The four public input sessions held by FERC in Michigan drew hundreds of people, many raising concerns about the pipeline's impact on local wetlands, woodlands, farmlands, and public safety.  Sierra Club’s Southeast Michigan Group, Nepessing Group, Crossroads Group and Huron Valley Group are spearheading the response to this and the other pipeline proposals.  Volunteer leaders in these four regional Sierra Club groups are working closely with local officials and organizations to educate the public about the threats these proposals pose and the rights landowners and communities in the proposed path have to influence decisions around this and other proposed natural gas pipelines.

Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Daniel T. Kildee, who represents the Flint area, wrote FERC to say he opposed the proposed ET Rover pipeline.

Sierra Club is the nation’s largest and oldest grassroots environmental organization, with more than 60,000 members and supporters in Michigan. 

More information about the Sierra Club’s position on the ET Rover proposed natural gas pipeline can be found here. A full copy of the Sierra Club's comment letter is available here.