Economics v. Environment in FERC Jurisdiction

By Published On: April 3, 2004

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sees its jurisdiction over liquefied natural gas terminals as fulfilling its role as the nation?s economic regulator. ?We are not an environmental regulator,? said Bryan Lee, FERC spokesperson. ?We are an economic regulator. California cannot exempt itself from the interstate commerce clause.? The California Public Utilities Commission and many of the state?s policy makers and politicians have been arguing vigorously for years against federal regulators taking on jurisdiction over energy issues, beginning with the energy crisis. LNG is only the most recent example. Lee noted that in the past the state has carved exemptions to federal jurisdictions such as the Clean Air Act and reformulated gasoline to make California?s laws more stringent in order to help clean up the environment. The CPUC put off opening an investigation into Sound Energy Solutions? plan to construct and operate a liquefied natural gas terminal at the Port of Long Beach April 1. On the agenda was an order with the proposed investigation to require SES to file an application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity?a move that necessitates a formal proceeding under CPUC jurisdiction.

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