Feinstein Introduces LNG Jurisdiction Bill

By Published On: May 27, 2005

Legislation that would give states clear authority to license liquefied natural gas import terminals has been introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California). The bill, S 1090, could be added to comprehensive energy policy legislation being marked up by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said an aide to Feinstein. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) cosponsored the measure. ?I truly believe that states should have an equal role with the federal government in determining where these facilities should be built,? Feinstein stated. Snowe added that Maine and other states where LNG facilities are planned should have the right to set more stringent standards for the terminals than the federal government. The bill would authorize concurrent state and federal jurisdiction for siting LNG terminals. It also would empower the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or a state to allow third parties to import LNG into any terminal in the event that the operator of the terminal becomes unable or unwilling to provide a steady supply of gas. It further would allow states to impose more stringent safety requirements than FERC and establish a mediation process to address conflicts between FERC and states on LNG terminal siting. FERC?s ?efforts can be derailed by the sheer number of agencies involved in siting facilities,? FERC Office of Energy Projects director Mark Robinson told U.S. legislators. Robinson appealed to the Committee on Environment and Public Works May 25 to designate exclusive authority to site projects and require all agencies with authority over an aspect of project work to ?develop one federal record from which all agency decisions would be made.? California sued FERC in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last summer in an attempt to assert state authority over a terminal proposed by Sound Energy Solutions in Long Beach. In related news, the Long Beach City Council delayed until June 21 a decision on whether to resume or terminate talks with SES on the proposed terminal. Anti-LNG activists had expected the council to terminate talks, which have been dormant since the council granted SES a three-year option to develop the terminal in May 2003. The next day, a coalition of environmental groups called for a needs assessment before any LNG terminals are approved in California. The coalition?which includes the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and more than 20 other organizations?said that California should not be ?unduly rushed? by the federal government and the energy industry to approve LNG terminals.

Share this story

Not a member yet?

Subscribe Now