FIRST ON FOX: A group of House and Senate Republicans penned a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the nation’s top energy regulator, asking it to stop slow-walking approval for a key natural gas project in the Pacific Northwest.

In the letter sent Friday, the eight lawmakers — led by Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, R-Ore., and joined by fellow Oregon GOP Rep. Cliff Bentz, four other House Republicans and Idaho GOP Sens. Mike Crapo and James Risch — called for the immediate approval of the Gas Transmission Northwest XPress Project (GTNXP). The project would upgrade three existing compressor stations, increasing capacity on an existing system that has transported natural gas for decades.

“This delay has created significant uncertainty for energy users in the states and districts we represent and will likely subject them to higher priced energy alternatives,” the group wrote in the letter first obtained by Fox News Digital. “It is unreasonable for a project like GTN XPress, which meets all the Commission’s criteria and impacts no landowners, to be subject to such lengthy delays. It is time for FERC to act.”

“Further, according to FERC’s FEIS (final environmental impact statement) the project would not have significant environmental impacts,” they continued. “Regarding GHG (greenhouse gases) emissions more generally, increasing natural gas use in electricity generation has already helped the nation achieve significant reductions in GHG emissions, with electric sector emissions dropping 32% between 2005 and 2019 largely driven by the transition from coal to natural gas.”


The letter added that an increase in natural gas power generation would help states like Oregon meet carbon reduction goals, since it relies on coal for about 25% of its electricity generation. Coal produces greater emissions than natural gas.

GTNXP’s developer TC Energy first proposed the project in October 2021. According to its application filed with FERC at the time, the project would leverage existing infrastructure to increase GTN’s incremental mainline capacity by 150,000 dekatherms per day, enough to power thousands of additional homes in the region. The GTN pipeline travels through Idaho, Washington and Oregon and serves California customers.


However, FERC — which is chaired by Willie Phillips, a President Biden appointee and Democrat — has inexplicably delayed granting final approval for TC Energy to move ahead with construction in the project despite greenlighting in its environmental impact statement published in October 2022. Democrats and environmental groups have urged FERC to reject the project, potentially causing the delays.

In July, FERC removed the project from its open meeting agenda without explanation. One day before the meeting, though, Democratic Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden wrote to the regulator, imploring it to reject the project. The commission again opted against discussing it during its following meeting on Sept. 21, which earned a pointed rebuke from TC Energy.

“This unprecedented delay is adding undue uncertainty for our constituents’ energy certainty and diverging from FERC precedent as well as the intent of the Natural Gas Act,” the lawmakers concluded in their letter Friday. “The Commission should provide certainty to providers and consumers across the Northwest, and issue their decision on this important project as soon as possible.”

A FERC spokesperson previously declined to comment to Fox News Digital on the repeated delays, citing the agency’s policy of not discussing internal pending matters. The next FERC meeting where GTNXP may be discussed is slated for Oct. 19.

In addition to GOP lawmakers, local labor unions, electric utility companies and energy groups have rallied in favor of GTNXP, arguing it will produce jobs and solidify energy supplies.