Full Title: Critical energy justice in US natural gas infrastructuring
Author(s): Mary Finley-Brooka, Travis L. Williamsb, Judi Anne Caron-Sheppardc, Mary Kathleen Jaromin
Publisher(s): Energy Research & Social Science
Publication Date: 07/2018
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We employ infrastructuring as a verb to highlight contested processes of infrastructure expansion to extract, store, transport, and transform natural gas (into liquefied natural gas, LNG). As faculty members and students embedded in mid-Atlantic universities in the United States (US), we conducted participatory action research to record nearby infrastructuring for Dominion Energy’s Cove Point LNG Export Terminal and Atlantic Coast Pipeline. We documented how frontline and impacted populations seized opportunities when infrastructuring was visible to challenge and erode the excessive economic and political power of Dominion, one of the US’s largest energy providers, who sought to maintain regulatory privilege through lobbying, campaign contributions, and delegitimization of public health and environmental risks. Extending Tsing’s concept of frictions (i.e., engagement in difference-based encounters), we highlight (1) coalition-building among unlikely allies (collective encounters), and (2) conflictive interactions between proand anti-gas stakeholders (oppositional encounters). Impacted populations collaborated with proximate and distant allies to publicize and legally challenge distributional, regulatory, racial and other forms of injustice from gas infrastructuring. Our critical energy justice (CEJ) framework helps to identity and defend interconnected components of justice under threat due to profit-oriented global gas infrastructuring based upon reckless disregard for climate science and public health.