From: Spectra Busters <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 4:03 PM
Subject: RIN 1901-AB43 and FE Docket No. 17-86-R
Cc: Spectra Busters <email@example.com>
Comments from SpectraBusters, Inc. against small LNG
ISSUES AND CONCERNS ASSOCIATED WITH “SMALL-SCALE” INLAND LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS (LNG) PRODUCTION, STORAGE AND TRANSPORT FACILITIES:
- The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has abdicated Congressional authority under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) for the siting, construction, operation and maintenance of small-scale inland LNG export facilities.
- How is an LNG export facility that must obtain an export license from the U. S. Department of Energy not, from FERC’s perspective, an “export” facility within the meaning of the NGA and thus not subject to FERC’s jurisdiction (see Pivotal LNG, Inc., FERC Docket No. RP15-259-000 Issued April 2, 2015, Norman Bay, Commissioner, Dissenting Opinion).
- How is an LNG “export” facility that trucks LNG 440 yards to a dock not an LNG export facility?
- The NGA makes clear Congress’s intent to regulate the import and export of natural gas. Section 1(a) declares that “federal regulation” of the “transportation of natural gas and the sale thereof in interstate and foreign commerce is necessary in the public interest.” Section 1(b) provides that the NGA shall apply to “the importation or exportation of natural gas in foreign commerce and to persons engaged in such importation or exportation.”
- Section 3 of the NGA states that “no person shall export any natural gas from the United States to a foreign country or import any natural gas from a foreign country without first having secured an order of FERC authorizing it to do so.”
- The Department of Energy authorizes the export of the commodity natural gas, while FERC exercises authority over the siting, construction, operation and maintenance of export facilities.
- FERC Commissioners voted 4 to 1 in favor of FERC disclaiming jurisdiction and created its own exemption by misreading and conflating section 3(e) relating to “LNG terminals” and Section 7 of the NGA that covers “transportation facilities.”
- FERC’s jurisdiction under Section 3 extends to export facilities, not merely “LNG terminals.”
- Under Section 2(11), “LNG terminal” is defined to include facilities used for import, export, or interstate commerce. An “LNG terminal” is one type of export facility.
- An LNG terminal is simply one type of export facility.
- There is no evidence to suggest that Congress sought to limit export facilities to “coastal LNG terminals that are accessible to oceangoing, bulk-carrier LNG tankers and that are connected to pipelines that deliver gas to or take gas away from the terminal.”
- Nothing in Section 3 conditions FERC’s jurisdiction upon the existence of a pipeline running to the point of export.
- Congress made clear that there is a distinction between domestic transportation or sales which are only jurisdictional if they are interstate in character — and foreign imports or exports, all of which are covered.
- The FERC “majority” claimed that “facilities are regulated by various federal, state and local agencies.”***
- Residents of a state in which an LNG facility is located, or residents of surrounding states, may reasonably expect the facility to be subject to federal review of its operations and maintenance.
- The FERC “majority” ignored the plain language of the NGA, substituted its policy judgment for that of Congress, and undermined national uniformity with respect to the import or export of gas.
- FERC has created an unnecessary gap in FERC’s jurisdiction.
- FERC has a statutory obligation to minimize risks to the public and the environment associated with FERC-jurisdictional energy infrastructure.
- Developers of small-scale inland LNG export facilities are siting, constructing, operating and maintaining LNG production, storage and transport operations on small parcels of land, e.g. 12 acres, in densely populated areas of Florida with virtually no Federal oversight or transparency in the process.
- U. S. C. § 717b(a) creates a rebuttable presumption that a proposed export of natural gas is in the public interest. The statute does not define “public interest” or identify criteria that must be considered. The DOE/FE has identified a range of factors that it evaluates when reviewing an application for LNG export authorization, including economic impacts, international impacts, security of natural gas supply, and environmental impacts, among others. The DOE’s first objective should be to insure that an inland LNG production, storage and transport facility has met all of the Federal rules and regulations that govern siting, construction, operation and maintenance before authoring LNG exports from an LNG export facility.
- Congress should define “public interest” standard under the Natural Gas Act, not the DOE or the DOE with public input.
- The U. S. Department of Energy has authorized LNG exports from small-scale inland LNG production facilities where there are critical unresolved environmental concerns; questions concerning compliance with regulations found in CFR Title 49 Part 193—Liquefied Natural Gas Facilities: Federal Safety Standards; unresolved questions concerning Federal jurisdiction; and no transparency in the LNG facility approval process. The DOE should ensure compliance with all Federal regulations for LNG production, storage and transport facilities before authorizing LNG exports from them.
- There is no system or structure in place to determine if small-scale inland LNG production, storage and transport facilities are in compliance with the myriad of rules and regulations found in CFR Title 49. The public is now barred from obtaining information and viewing documents that were formerly available through a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Docket search.
- If constructed without a Permit from PHMSA, a small-scale inland LNG project proposed for a 22-acre site in a densely populated area of Titusville, Florida, will be in violation of CFR Title 49, Section 193.2155(b), i.e. “An LNG storage tank must not be located within a horizontal distance of one mile (1.6 km) from the ends, or ¼ mile (0.4 km) from the nearest point of a runway, whichever is longer.”
- The U. S. Department of Energy accepts information provided in LNG facility applications on its face and does not question anything. One new project that was sited, constructed and is operating on a 12-acre site in the Hialeah Rail Yard in Miami claimed a B5.7 Categorical Exclusion from National Environmental Policy Act review by the DOE. This Exclusion applies to natural gas import or export activities requiring minor operational changes to existing projects, but not new construction. This LNG project was new construction. The project has been producing and exporting LNG from the ports of Miami and Everglade to Barbados since February 5, 2016.
- A proposed LNG production facility to be sited on a 15-acre site in Crystal River, Florida, has been authorized to export 1,000,000 gallons of LNG/day to FTA nations. The company has an application “on hold” at the DOE to export an additional 2,000,000 gallons/day to non-FTA nations pending receipt of an Environmental Assessment. The site is in a high sink-hole and above-average flood risk area in Citrus County, Florida.
- LNG Transport: The DOE has authorized the export of LNG from small-scale inland facilities. LNG is loaded into 40-foot, 10,000-gallon ISO containers (thermos bottles) that are truck or rail-mounted for transport to deep water ports throughout the state of Florida.
- Martin County, Florida, Fire Rescue performed a “Vulnerability Analysis of Florida East Coast Rail’s Transportation of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)” and concluded:
- LNG is a new hazardous chemical being added to rail transportation
- Population centers, neighborhoods are close to these railway corridors
- Risk increases as the amount and frequency of hazardous materials
- re transported through communities
- LNG along same rail lines as high-speed passenger rail increases risk of accidents
- Increase in potential for accidents to occur = unquantifiable
- Such emergencies can exceed local response capabilities
- Need for training and preparedness plans to respond to such emergencies
- Emergency Response Plan (Energy Policy Act of 2005): In any order authorizing LNG exports for non-FERC-jurisdictional LNG production facilities, the DOE or other specified Federal Agency should require the facility operator develop an Emergency Response Plan. The ERP should be prepared in consultation with the U. S. Coast Guard and State and Local agencies and be approved by the DOE prior to authorizing LNG exports from an LNG facility. The Plan should include cost-sharing measures with a description of any direct cost reimbursements that the application agrees to provide to any State and Local agencies with responsibility for security and safety at the LNG facility or in proximity to any vehicles, including truck and rail that serve the facility.
- Does a small-scale inland LNG production, storage and transport facility qualify as an “LNG Storage Facility” under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act?
- What Federal agency insures security and safety at inland LNG production, storage and transport facilities?
- Where are Emergency Response Plans for non-FERC-jurisdictional inland LNG production, storage and transport facilities filed?
- The DOE should ensure that an inland LNG production, storage and transport facility has registered with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration prior to authorizing LNG exports from such a facility (PHMSA F 1000.2 National Registry of Pipeline and LNG Operators).
- The DOE should ensure that an inland LNG production, storage and transport facility has registered with the U. S. Department of Homeland Security and has completed a CSAT Top-Screen Survey Application, including the Thermal Radiation and Flammable Vapor-Gas Dispersion Exclusion Zones for such a project.