Longtime WWALS member Cecile Scofield in TCPalm, January 15, 2020, Liquified natural gas needs regulation in Florida,
You and a friend decide to go into business together. You draft your business plan and delineate each person’s responsibilities for the operation. But what happens if one of you decides to shirk your assigned duties? Your business venture will be doomed to failure.
This is exactly what has happened with regulating a new breed of inland Liquefied Natural Gas export facilities in Florida. A Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) outlines each agency’s role in exercising regulatory authority over the siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and expansion of LNG facilities. See https://tinyurl.com/tdhxazn.
LNG facilities are regulated, in part, by the Federal Safety Standards for LNG Facilities. While FERC has jurisdictional authority over LNG facilities under the Natural Gas Act, FERC has disclaimed that authority over inland LNG export facilities, opining that the NGA regulates LNG “terminals,” and since inland facilities are incapable of pumping LNG into a ship, such operations are not deemed to be “terminals.”
FERC disclaimed jurisdiction with no formal rulemaking, delegating the commission’s responsibilities under the NGA to other federal agencies. The pipeline administration was left holding the bag, though it plays no role in the siting or construction of inland LNG export facilities. There are no public meetings where abutters of proposed LNG export projects have an opportunity to meet with developers and ask questions about a facility that could have potentially catastrophic consequences in the event of a spill or breach of an LNG containment tank.
In Florida, “gas” such as propane is regulated by the Department of Agriculture. Sounds like that would be the appropriate state agency in Florida to pick up the slack for FERC.
Cecile Scofield, Palm City
You can also contribute to the legal fund for WWALS to sue FERC for FERC shirking its LNG oversight duty and creating the regulatory gap referred to in this WWALS comment to PHMSA.
More about that on the WWALS website.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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