Peevey Bucks Central Siting Tide at Senate Hearing

By Published On: February 18, 2005

California Public Utilities Commission president Mike Peevey this week angled for concurrent federal and state jurisdiction in any new federal energy bill language that includes liquefied natural gas terminal siting authority. During a U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing February 15, neither Peevey?s exhortation nor the state?s status as an economic and environmental leader got the red-carpet treatment. Most senators on the committee appeared anxious to develop LNG terminals and Alaskan gas fields. They seemed to support the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission?s plan to keep jurisdiction over LNG siting centralized in Washington, D.C. ?We need regulatory certainty,? Ed Guiles, Sound Energy Solutions (SES) executive vice-president, told Congress members. SES is trying to get an onshore LNG facility sited in the Port of Long Beach. FERC wants to make sure ?everybody plays in one game,? stressed Mark Robinson, FERC director of energy projects. With California and FERC fighting out the jurisdictional battle in federal court, Sound Energy?s proposed controversial Long Beach LNG facility is ?in limbo,? Guiles said. In another venue later in the week, FERC chair Pat Wood claimed that the ?tide has turned? in siting approval in the last couple of months. ?We must take the lead in crafting a procedure for siting LNG ports that appropriately balances state and local input with national interests,? said Energy and Natural Resources Committee chair Pete Domenici (R-Nevada) in a statement following the hearing. Californians did not appear popular. Senators alluded to the state?s environmental leanings as hurdles to the development of gas supplies. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana), for instance, put Californians at the top of the list of those who take other states? resources without compensation. She wants federal subsidies for states such as Louisiana that take on environmental and other energy development consequences on behalf of the nation when states such as California do not take similar risks. Everyone at the hearing, except, perhaps, the representative from Rhode Island, professed a desire to build LNG terminals in the U.S. ?We would love to have an LNG terminal? to accept Alaskan gas, Peevey said. The hearing was aimed at gathering information for potential energy bills this session.

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