Chester, Pennsylvania — When Zulene Mayfield testifies next week against plans to build a $6.8 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in her Pennsylvania hometown, she will be facing off against some of the most powerful fossil fuel interests in the United States. As co-founder of the community group Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living, Mayfield has spent years fighting to protect her majority Black and low-income city from the pollution spewed by the nearby Covanta waste-to-energy facility — the country’s largest waste incinerator. Now she finds herself pitted against a new confluence of forces — a lobbying effort by a fossil fuel complex stretching from her state’s Marcellus Shale gas fields to the boardrooms of European energy companies.
U.S. fossil fuel firms are pushing to build more than 2,900 miles of natural gas pipelines to feed liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities in Louisiana, Texas, and Alaska, in a bid to send more of the fuel to Asia and Europe, a new analysis by Global Energy Monitor shows. The pipeline projects would transport fracked natural gas from drilling sites to compressor stations and onto LNG export terminals where the fuel would be supercooled and loaded into tankers. The proposed build-out also includes 20 new LNG export terminals. But as coastal communities and tribes watch the infrastructure build up around them, many worry about the impact it may have on their safety, livelihoods, and culture.