Environmental Groups: Don't Import Natural Gas

State of Connecticut

Hawaii Gas wants to bring liquefied natural gas to Hawaii to help lower the cost of energy.

But environmental groups oppose the move and are working to prevent it for environmental reasons.

The Sierra Club and the Blue Planet Foundation filed motions with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission late last week to intervene in the Hawaii gas company's attempt to import the fossil fuel.

Hawaii Gas asked FERC for approval to import LNG in August. The application (pdf) is still pending. The company hopes that natural gas will help improve the state's energy efficiency as well as reduce costs for consumers.

Hawaii has the highest dependency on fossil fuels of any state, according to the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative website. Hawaii residents also pay more for electricity than almost anyone else in the nation.

LNG is seen by many as an inexpensive alternative to oil and the proposal has the support of the Abercrombie administration. State officials have said that even when shipping costs are factored in, consumers would save money with natural gas.

Jeff Mikulina, director of the Blue Planet Foundation, acknowledged that natural gas is an inexpensive energy option and that renewable energy has high upfront costs. But he argued that the gas company's initiative is a step back from the state's goal of reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

"It’s seductive to think that we can simply import a different fossil fuel that’s going to somehow be cheaper and still think that we’re going to achieve our clean energy goals," Mikulina said.

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