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Report Warns Of Overreliance On Natural Gas

A report released Tuesday says Louisiana is using too much natural gas. The Union of Concerned Scientists rates states based on their reliance on natural gas. Louisiana is among the most at-risk.

New federal policies under the Clean Power Plan are supporting the switch from coal power to cleaner natural gas, but the Union of Concerned Scientists say that’s not a perfect solution because burning gas still produces harmful emissions.

Louisiana is one of the top natural gas producing states, and it also uses a lot. More than one-third of households use natural gas and the rest is used for industry.

Energy analyst for UCS, John Rogers, says investing too much in natural gas power plants, rather than solar and other clean energy, could make the state vulnerable. Sudden gas price changes, excessive carbon emissions and outdated power plants could harm people and the economy.

He says in Louisiana nearly half of the electricity comes from natural gas. “Louisiana is not really well-diversified, and the reason this matters is that it comes back to electricity ratepayers," Rogers says. "It’s consumers who end up footing the bill for investments that don’t pan out."

He expects the risk to grow as 100 percent of Louisiana’s new or converted electricity capacity over the next two years is natural gas-fueled.

Support for WWNO's Coastal Desk comes from the Walton Family Foundation, the Kabacoff Family Foundation and the Greater New Orleans Foundation.

Tegan has reported on the coast for WWNO since 2015. In this role she has covered a wide range of issues and subjects related to coastal land loss, coastal restoration, and the culture and economy of Louisiana’s coastal zone, with a focus on solutions and the human dimensions of climate change. Her reporting has been aired nationally on Planet Money, Reveal, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Marketplace, BBC, CBC and other outlets. She’s a recipient of the Pulitzer Connected Coastlines grant, CUNY Resilience Fellowship, Metcalf Fellowship, and countless national and regional awards.

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