Manufacturing Defends Natural Gas Industry

In a recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) filing in support of a Connecticut natural gas pipeline expansion project, the Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) organization filed comments that scrutinized the motives and means of anti-fossil fuels activists. Their filing encouraged regulatory authorities to consider the economic impact of natural gas, the need for more streamline permitting procedures and to approve this particular project.

The IECA represents manufacturing operations in the United States who stated “if we do not have sufficient deliverability capabilities to move natural gas to operate our facilities, we’ll have no choice but to relocate to other states or offshore.” The IECA represents leading manufacturing companies in diverse industries, including chemical, plastic, food processing, glass, pharmaceuticals, building products, and other products employing more than 1.6 million people in the US.

The filing urged the FERC to dismiss the “Keep it in the Ground” activists’ claims because they do not represent the will or needs of energy consumers. According to FERC documents, “These activists do not represent consumers in the state and they are not accountable for millions of employees who work in our factories in order to sustain their families and lifestyles. They represent an ideology that is not realistic when it comes to commerce or the wellbeing and safety of consumers who need the natural gas from this pipeline to heat their homes. For the record, IECA and its member companies support cost-effective production of renewable energy and its many environmental benefits. However, renewable energy is not a viable alternative to replace natural gas in manufacturing.”

“Manufacturing companies cannot operate facilities on electricity alone, whether it is produced from renewable energy, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, or coal. Our equipment will only operate on natural gas. And, natural gas on a Btu basis costs substantially less than a Btu of electricity. This is important because manufacturers compete globally and the competition is very tough. Business orders can be won or lost based on pennies on the dollar. If costs are not kept low, our products will be displaced by foreign imports. Due to technical limitations of manufacturers, if we were forced to stop using natural gas, we would have no choice but to shut down.”

The filing goes on to urge approvals for the pipeline project so as to not negatively impact commerce across the US, citing the integrated supply chain of manufacturers and how disruptions due to energy  would have costly ramifications across the chain of goods required in manufacturing processes. IECA stated that manufacturing companies cannot grow without increased supplies of natural gas and that, in fact, a more accelerated and streamlined pipeline permitting process is necessary to enable companies to more agilely make capital investments and compete more effectively in their respective global markets.

The IECA has aggressively been representing the manufacturing sector before the FERC in several pipeline projects under review and continues to make these bold and emphatic arguments in favor of keeping natural gas at the forefront of America’s energy policies.