On June 21, the National Commission on Energy Policy held a forum in Washington, D.C., entitled “Ending the Stalemate on LNG Facility Siting.” The forum was co-sponsored by the Center for LNG, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the American Chemistry Council.
In a panel presentation addressing environmental concerns related to terminal siting, Jim Walpole, General Counsel for NOAA, discussed the agency’s preference for closed-loop technology in offshore LNG terminals. He said that NOAA’s “primary concern” with open-loop systems is the entrainment of fish eggs and larvae. He also indicated that a final version of NOAA’s “Recommended Best Practices for Liquefied Natural Gas Terminals,” a document designed to guide NOAA staff in their review of offshore terminals and to explain NOAA’s priorities to terminal developers and to other federal agencies, will be issued by the end of the year.
Another member of the panel, Susan Snow-Cotter of Massachusetts’ Office of Coastal Zone Management, highlighted some of Massachusetts’ concerns regarding offshore terminals. She spoke of the possible need for energy planning on a regional scale, and she said that multiple terminal proposals coupled with the “aggressive” time schedule of the Deepwater Port Act present a real challenge for the state in contributing to the terminal siting process.
In a separate panel presentation focused on the safety and security of LNG terminals, Rich Hoffman, Director of the Gas Division of the Office of Energy Products at FERC, underscored FERC’s efforts to maintain safety and security at and near LNG terminals. Hoffman highlighted the new Department of Defense consultation requirement, the development of a required emergency response plan at each terminal prior to construction, Commission guidance on Resource Reports 11 and 13, and the use of a front-end design-based review process for terminal technology.
Also on that panel, David Dismukes, Associate Director of the LSU Center for Energy Studies, discussed the concentration of energy infrastructure in the U.S. Gulf region and the risks presented by hurricanes and possible terrorist attacks. According to Dismukes, relocating energy assets is not the answer: instead, industry and government should prepare to quickly rehabilitate damaged or destroyed energy infrastructure. When asked by an audience member to comment on how much concentration of energy assets is too much, Dismukes explained that the favorable “economics of concentration” in the Gulf region “overwhelm the risks” for now.
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