NW Natural is the largest gas distribution company in Oregon, serving 2.5 million people. As the climate crisis worsens, NW Natural, like many utilities, has come under increasing pressure to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
But as DeSmog has documented, NW Natural is fighting hard to prevent the erosion of its gas business. It has aggressively marketed costly climate “solutions” with questionable benefit, such as “renewable natural gas” and a hydrogen-methane blend for home heating. It has sent activity workbooks to schools to spread a positive message about natural gas to children. It has sought to pay its executives bonuses and bill ratepayers for the cost.
The company positions itself as a climate leader, but critics argue that the campaign is largely an exercise in misdirection — an effort to buy time and buy social license for its gas infrastructure. At the same time that it offers false solutions, it is aggressively lobbying to block electrification efforts.
This series explores the variety of PR campaigns that NW Natural has engaged in. Like many gas utilities around the country, NW Natural is still attempting to grow its gas sales for the foreseeable future.