LNG export approval pause puts FERC on hook for EIAs

FERC won’t be able to say it doesn’t know anything about LNG exports anymore, with this plan to require FERC environmental assessments before FE authorization. But this does nothing about the FE authorizations aleady granted, including the three at the end of the Transco -> Sabal -> FSC pipeline. A better idea: cancel LNG exports and build solar power instead.

Jennifer A. Dlouhy wrote for Fuelfix 30 May 2014, Winners and losers in feds’ new gas export review plan,

The Energy Department intends to scrap a two-year-old approach for considering applications to export LNG to countries that don’t have free trade agreements with the United States. Instead of reviewing them in the order they were filed, as the agency largely does now, the Energy Department would first tackle those that have already cleared an expensive, time-consuming environmental assessment typically done by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Sen. Ed Markey’s statement of 29 May 2014, Markey Commends DOE Move to Study Impacts of Large-scale Natural Gas Exports, heads in the right direction but doesn’t go far enough:

“America shouldn’t export first and ask questions later. This new push for more analysis by the Energy Department is a welcome development. That’s why I have repeatedly called on them to examine the impacts that these higher levels of exports could have on American consumers and businesses.

“The Department of Energy has already found that exporting 12 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day could increase domestic natural gas prices by more than 50 percent. Yet the Department of Energy has authorized more than twice that amount, through both pipelines and liquefied natural gas terminals, which is more natural gas than every home and business in America consumes.

“While these new studies and environmental reviews are ongoing, we should take this chance to hit the pause button on any new natural gas export approvals. Low-cost natural gas provides our nation with a national security and economic advantage that supports America’s manufacturers and consumers. We should not give away that advantage without full analysis and debate.”

Actually, expanding methane export or use just fracks more watersheds and destroys more forests, damages more private property rihts, and threaens more aquifers for the profit of a few companies while eating up financial resources that could be going to getting on with solar power. Solar really does provide national security and economic advantage, without fracking, fuel, or water misuse.

Here’s the actual U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) PROPOSED PROCEDURES FOR LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS EXPORT DECISIONS,

On May 29, 2014, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy announced the availability for public review and comment the Proposed Procedures for Liquefied Natural Gas Export Decisions. (please see Federal Register Notice link below). DOE proposes to act on applications to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the lower-48 states to non-FTA countries only after the review required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has been completed, suspending its practice of issuing conditional decisions prior to final authorization decisions.

This proposed procedure, if adopted, would not affect the continued validity of the conditional orders DOE has already issued. For those applications, DOE will proceed as explained in the conditional orders: when the NEPA review process for those projects is complete, DOE will reconsider the conditional authorization in light of the information gathered in the environmental review and take appropriate final action. Further, DOE will continue to act on requests for conditional authorizations during the period when the procedures proposed in this Notice are under consideration.

In response to this Notice, any person may file comments. DOE prefers that comments be submitted electronically using the online Comment Submission Form, which can be accessed below. If you cannot submit comments electronically, the Federal Register Notice provides instructions on how to submit comments by hard copy. All comments will be posted to the “Comments” link below and must be received by DOE no later than 4:30 p.m., Eastern Time, July 21, 2014.

So FE proposes to follow the law, NEPA, specifically. How about we also repeal the Halliburton Loophole in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPA2005) that enables fracking and LNG exports? See next post.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *