Extended two weeks: WWALS FOIA to FERC on NFE Miami LNG export 2020-11-23

At 5:46 PM on their last day, FERC did respond to our FOIA about the NFE Miami LNG facility. But only to say FERC is self-extending its deadline another two weeks. It’s already eight weeks since our initial FOIA about that Miami facility, which FERC confused with Puerto Rico. What’s taking so long, FERC?

FERC’s excuse? “We have determined that in order to respond to your request, Commission staff must consult with other components of the agency having substantial subject-matter interest therein.”

[NFE operations, FERC needs to consult]
NFE operations, FERC needs to consult

Well, if the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) can’t find a SHOW CAUSE ORDER to New Fortress Energy about NFE’s Miami LNG facility, apparently there is no such ORDER, because according to a law FERC cited in its latest response, any ORDERs that exist must be published electronically for everyone to see.

So what is FERC having such a hard time finding? Maybe a “PETITION FOR DECLARATORY ORDER filed by New Fortress Energy, Miami, Florida”? Maybe because none was ever filed? Or maybe records of meetings or correspondance between FERC and NFE about the Miami facility?

It’s already been eight weeks since our initial FOIA, six weeks after we sent an expanded FOIA, four weeks after FERC “accepted” that FOIA, and more than two weeks after FERC informed WWALS of that “acceptance.” Why the delaying tactics, FERC?

Here’s a timeline so far:

  • June 18, 2020, FERC publishes 171 FERC 61,230, ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE, New Fortress Energy LLC, Docket No. CP20-466-000 “we direct New Fortress Energy LLC (New Fortress Energy) to show cause why the liquified natural gas (LNG) handling facility it has constructed adjacent to the San Juan Combined Cycle Power Plant at the Port of San Juan in Puerto Rico is not subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction under section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA).”

    September 10, 2020, Jamison Cocklin, Natural Gas Intelligencer, NFE’s Gibbstown, New Jersey, LNG loading dock was Stymied by DRBC, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC).

    [New Fortress Energy Operations]
    New Fortress Energy Operations

  • September 28, 2020, WWALS sends initial FOIA to FERC asking for “Copy of PETITION FOR DECLARATORY ORDER filed by New Fortress Energy, Miami, Florida” or “a Commission Order to Show Cause for why none has been filed.”
  • September 28, 2020, FERC replies that same day with a non-sequitur about Puerto Rico.
  • October 12, 2020, WWALS sends expanded FOIA to FERC. This time we spelled out “Miami” everywhere from the Subject line on down, and we referenced FERC’s June Puerto Rico order to say not that. Plus we also asked for records of meetings and correspondance.

    [NFE Miami facility in Miami-Dade Property Appraiser]
    NFE Miami facility in Miami-Dade Property Appraiser

  • October 23, 2020, FERC “accepted” the WWALS FOIA and assigned it reference number FOIA-2021-04. Interesting that the reference number has next year, 2021, in it, not this year, 2020. Was that a clue about when FERC plans to answer?
  • November 5, 2020, FERC informs WWALS the FOIA was “accepted”
  • November 23, 2020, FERC extended its own deadline.
  • December 8, 2020, FERC’s new self-assigned deadline for substantive response.

Apparently FERC has learned that Miami is not Puerto Rico. Will FERC follow the precedent it sent about Puerto Rico and send New Fortress Energy (NFE) a SHOW CAUSE Order for why NFE did not send a “Petition for Declaratory Orders” about the NFE Miami LNG facility? Remember, FERC has the power to shut down an LNG facility after the fact, for not following the law.

The extension email

Date: Mon, Nov 23, 2020 at 5:46 PM
From: FOIA-CEII <FOIA-CEII@ferc.gov>
To: WWALS Watershed Coalition <wwalswatershed@gmail.com>
Cc: FOIA-CEII <FOIA-CEII@ferc.gov>

John Quarterman

Please find attached a letter regarding Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request number FOIA-2021-4. We kindly ask that you send an email confirming that you have successfully received this material.

If you have questions or need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our FOIA-CEII Service Center at foia-ceii@ferc.gov/(202) 502-6088.


Toyia Johnson

Toyia Johnson
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Office of External Affairs
FOIA Public Liaison
Phone: (202) 502-8389 / Toll Free: 1-866-208-FERC
Email: foia-ceii@ferc.gov

  • Click here to submit Freedom of Information Act request.
  • Click here to submit a Critical Energy/Electric Infrastructure Information request and Non Disclosure Agreement.

NOTICE: This email message and any attachments are for the sole use of the intended recipients and may contain information that is classified as privileged, CEII or otherwise protected from disclosure. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and delete the original message and attachments from your computer and other electronic devices.

It’s quite like FERC to put an “unauthorized review” disclaimer on a response to a FOIA request.

Still you get 404 if you follow that first link before her signature, the one “to submit Freedom of Information Act request:”

[FERC 404]
FERC 404
The content you are looking for is in the process of being migrated.
All documents are available in eLibrary during this process, for additional help please contact Mediadl@ferc.gov for guidance.
Try searching for your content

There’s a search box, but since FERC acknowledged that email works for submitting a FOIA, we’ll stick with that.

The extension PDF

This letter is actually signed by the FERC Secretary, Kimberly D. Bose. See also the PDF.

[Extended two weeks for need to consult]
Extended two weeks for need to consult


November 23, 2020

Re: Extension of Time,
FOIA No. FY21-04

John S. Quarterman
Suwannee Riverkeeper
P.O. Box 88
Hahira, GA 31632

Dear Mr. Quarterman:

This letter is in reference to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)1 request filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) on October 23, 2020. We have determined that in order to respond to your request, Commission staff must consult with other components of the agency having substantial subject-matter interest therein. See 18 C.F.R. § 388.110(b)(1) and (b)(4)(iii) (2020). Therefore, in accordance with the Commission’s regulations, specifically 18 C.F.R. § 388.110(b), we are notifying you that we have extended the time limit to make an initial determination on your request. We expect to provide you with an initial determination by December 8, 2020.

[So there.]
So there.

You have the right to seek dispute resolution services from the FOIA Public Liaison of the agency or the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS). Using OGIS services does not affect your right to pursue your appeal. You may contact OGIS by mail at Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, Room 2510, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001; email at ogis@nara.gov; telephone at 301-837-1996; facsimile at 301-837-0348; or toll-free at 1-877-684-6448.

Kimberly D. Bose
Kimberly D. Bose,

cc: Lindsee Gentry
Office of External Affairs

1 5 U.S.C. § 552 (2018).

The cited sections of 18 CFR § 388.110


(1) Extension of time. In unusual circumstances, the time limits prescribed for making the initial determination pursuant to § 388.108 and for deciding an appeal pursuant to this section may be extended by up to 10 working days, by the Secretary, who will send written notice to the requester setting forth the reasons for such extension and the date on which a determination or appeal is expected to be dispatched.

(2) The extension permitted by paragraph (b)(1) of this section may be made longer than 10 working days when the Commission notifies the requester within the initial response time that the request cannot be processed in the specified time, and the requester is provided an opportunity to limit the scope of the request to allow processing within 20 working days; or to arrange with the Commission an alternative time frame.

(3) Two or more requests aggregated into a single request under § 388.109(b)(2)(vii) may qualify for an extension of time if the requests, as aggregated, otherwise satisfy the unusual circumstances specified in this section.

(4) Unusual circumstances means:

(i) The need to search for and collect the requested records from field facilities or other establishments that are separate from the office processing the requests;

(ii) The need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are demanded in a single request; or

(iii) The need for consultation, which will be conducted with all practicable speed, with another agency having a substantial interest in the determination of the request or among two or more components of the agency having substantial subject-matter interest therein.

(5) Whenever the Commission extends the time limit, pursuant to paragraph (b)(1) of this section, by more than ten additional working days, the written notice will notify the requester of the right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services.

Part of 5 U.S. Code § 552 – Public information; agency rules, opinions, orders, records, and proceedings

(a) Each agency shall make available to the public information as follows:

(2) Each agency, in accordance with published rules, shall make available for public inspection in an electronic format—

(A) final opinions, including concurring and dissenting opinions, as well as orders, made in the adjudication of cases;

(B) those statements of policy and interpretations which have been adopted by the agency and are not published in the Federal Register;

(C) administrative staff manuals and instructions to staff that affect a member of the public;

(D) copies of all records, regardless of form or format—

(i) that have been released to any person under paragraph (3); and


(I) that because of the nature of their subject matter, the agency determines have become or are likely to become the subject of subsequent requests for substantially the same records; or

(II) that have been requested 3 or more times; and

(E) a general index of the records referred to under subparagraph (D);

Should we conclude, because FERC did not already publish it even before we asked for it, that there is no FERC SHOW CAUSE Order for why NFE did not send a “Petition for Declaratory Orders” about the NFE Miami LNG facility?

WWALS acknowledgement of FERC extension

Meanwhile, here, as requested by FERC FOIA Liaison Toyia Johnson, is the response I am sending FERC acknowledging receipt of FERC’s extension letter. See also PDF

[WWALS response to FERC extension letter]
WWALS response to FERC extension letter

Re: FERC response of November 23, 2020 to WWALS Freedom of Information Act Request about New Fortress Energy, Miami, Florida, for copy of PETITION FOR DECLARATORY ORDER or ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE, as well as any responses to either and any records of meetings between FERC and NFE about that Miami facility

Dear Ms. Bose and Ms. Johnson:

Thank you for your response of November 23, 2020, to the WWALS FOIA request of October 12, 2020. Per request from FOIA Public Liaison Toyia Johnson, this letter is confirmation that I did receive your response of yesterday.

However, I am puzzled why FERC needs still more time to produce the requested documents, since it has already been

  • Eight weeks since September 28, 2020, when WWALS sent FERC the initial FOIA about New Fortress Energy (NFE)’s Miami Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) facility.
  • Also eight weeks since the FOIA Public Liaison that same day misinterpreted our FOIA about Miami to be about Puerto Rico.
  • Six weeks since October 12, 2020, when WWALS sent FERC the expanded FOIA.
  • Four weeks since October 23, 2020, when FERC “accepted” the WWALS expanded FOIA.
  • More than two weeks since November 5, 2020, when FERC informed WWALS that FERC had “accepted” the WWALS expanded FOIA.

It is mysterious what documents or records FERC cannot find in all that time. Please explain.

Thank you for your consideration.

For the rivers and the aquifer,


Many thanks to Cecile Scofield for writing most of the FOIA letter.

Yes, we are still raising funds to sue FERC about LNG.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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