The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved four new liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects as well as the facilities needed to export natural gas. Three of the projects will be located “along the Brownsville Ship Channel in Brownsville, Texas” the fourth project will be expanding a facility near Corpus Christi, Texas, that is already operating. It has been noted that with the approval of these projects, FERC has approved a significant number of LNG export facilities this year.
FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee said he is “very proud of the hard work that the Commission and its staff have undertaken to continue our processing of LNG applications. The Commission has now completed its work on applications for 11 LNG export projects in the past nine months, helping the United States expand the availability of natural gas for our global allies who need access to an efficient, affordable and environmentally friendly fuel for power generation.”
The three approved Brownsville Ship Channel projects that have been approved were proposed by “Texas LNG Brownsville, LLC; Rio Grande LNG, LLC and Rio Bravo Pipeline Company; and Annova LNG Common Infrastructure, LLC and three of its affiliates.”
“Texas LNG Brownsville would build and operate facilities to export approximately 4 million metric tons per year of natural gas as LNG. The Rio Grande LNG Terminal and associated Rio Bravo Pipeline Project would export 27 million metric tons per year. The Annova LNG Brownsville Project would export up to 6 million metric tons per year.”
The proposal by “Corpus Christi Stage III, LLC and Corpus Christi Liquefaction LLC” to build and operate a “Stage 3 LNG Project that would allow the company to liquefy for export an additional 11.45 million metric tons per year.”
The projects now have pending applications with the U.S. Department of Energy, where they are “seeking authorization to export gas to countries without Free Trade Agreements with the United States.”
FERC Commissioner Richard Glick issued a statement explaining that he dissents from the approval of these projects:
Glick says he chose to dissent “because it violates both the Natural Gas Act (NGA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Commission once again refuses to consider the consequences its actions have for climate change. Although neither the NGA nor NEPA permit the Commission to assume away the impact that constructing and operating this liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility and associated natural gas pipeline will have on climate change, that is precisely what the Commission is doing here.”
Glick says that by authorizing these projects, FERC is treating “climate change differently than all other environmental impacts.” He explained that FERC “steadfastly refuses to assess whether the impact of the Project’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on climate change is significant, even though it quantifies the GHG emissions caused by the Project. hat refusal to assess the significance of the Project’s contribution to the harm caused by climate change is what allows the Commission to misleadingly state that its approval of the Project will result in environmental impacts that are generally ‘less-than-significant’ and, as a result, conclude that the Project satisfies the NGA’s public interest standards.”
He said that by “Claiming that a project’s environmental impacts are generally less-than-significant while at the same time refusing to assess the significance of the project’s impact on the most important environmental issue of our time is not reasoned decision making.”
Glick pointed out that all three of these Brownsville LNG projects “will have a significant adverse impact on a number of endangered species, including the ocelot.”
For these reasons, he chose to dissent from the approval of these projects.