Biden must stop methane pipelines to deliver on climate change and environmental justice

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Four years of President Donald Trump have cost America dearly. We lost our global leadership on addressing climate change and saw the struggle for environmental justice thwarted here at home. President Joe Biden has defined both of these objectives as cornerstones of his legacy, but a huge interstate methane gas pipeline now being rammed through the Appalachian Mountains threatens to undermine the progress his administration has promised.

The 42-inch diameter Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) would run 303 miles from West Virginia to Virginia, and it is one of the biggest U.S. gas pipelines in process. The pipeline’s climate impact is estimated to be equivalent to about 23 typical coal plants, or more than 19 million passenger vehicles. That does not include a proposed 74-mile extension of the pipeline into North Carolina.

Methane gas is a climate change double whammy. It’s a fossil fuel and, when burned for energy, releases the planet-warming greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. But methane itself is a very potent greenhouse gas, and when some of it inevitably escapes into the atmosphere during hydraulic fracturing, we get further warming.

Photo Credit: Bob Brown/AP

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