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Ohio Utica Shale

Center backs speedier federal review of LNG export projects

By Bob Downing Published: July 22, 2014

From the Center for Liquified Natural gas:

Washington, D.C.: The Center for Liquefied Natural Gas (CLNG) submitted three sets of comments to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on Friday, July 18 on the agency’s proposed changes in procedure for reviewing applications to export LNG. CLNG’s comments also addressed the potential inclusion of the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (NETL) reports on the environmental impact of LNG exports and unconventional natural gas development as considering factors in applications’ approval.


CLNG President Bill Cooper noted in his organization’s comments that DOE’s proposal to only issue final approvals after applicants have completed National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review fails to address concerns about delays in the agency’s review process and the financial impact of regulatory uncertainty. Instead, CLNG encourages DOE to void the current Order of Precedence, withdraw the proposed procedural changes and follow the Natural Gas Act and its existing regulations by issuing a decision promptly after the close of each submitted applications’ required public comment period.


“A timely decision, even a conditional decision, sends a clear message to the customers that applicants are on track for ultimate operations of the facilities proposed,” said Cooper. “Conversely, continued delays in issuing decisions cause uncertainty, costing applicants significant sums of money because of lost time, either in securing customers or setting definitive construction schedules.


“An applicant should have the reasonable expectation that upon completion of the application, its filing with DOE, payment of the filing fee, and the expiration of the comment period as established in the Federal Register notice without evidence being introduced to overcome the statutory presumption, DOE would require nothing more than the official record to render a decision.”


In regards to the two NETL reports, CLNG requested that DOE not consider either study when issuing decisions on pending applications as their inclusion falls outside the letter and spirit of NEPA. Pursuant to the law, “FERC is the lead agency for the preparation of the environmental analysis, DOE is the cooperating agency, both of which are to work within the framework of NEPA and the Council on Environmental Quality.”

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