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False Solutions

The fracked gas industry claims that gas from cow manure and rotting garbage is the answer. They call it “biogas” or “renewable gas.” But it’s just greenwashing. It’s not a real solution. There’s not enough of it, it’s expensive, and it relies on unsustainable practices like factory farming and generating large amounts of waste.

But that hasn’t stopped DC’s gas utility, Washington Gas, from going all in on manure gas. They claim this messy mix can get DC to its climate commitments of zero emissions by 2050. But that’s just not true.

The truth is that the American Gas Foundation, which is bankrolled by the gas industry, says that under the most optimistic scenarios, gas from manure and landfills could produce at most 10 percent of the gas we’re using today. In other words, the best case for manure gas and landfill gas is a 90 percent failure for the future of our climate.

Though manure gas does nothing for the climate, it will be expensive. Studies show it would at minimum quadruple costs to gas users and that it is far more expensive than electrification. That’s because the dirty gas from animal manure or landfills has to be cleaned and then costly pipelines have to be built to the factory farms or landfills that produce the gas. The cost for a single factory farm manure gas site runs as high as $3 million.

The essence of the Washington Gas manure plan is to radically increase costs for DC residents, subsidize factory farming, and accomplish nothing for the climate.