Update 2021-07-21: Ghost company: Strom LNG.
The many speakers against Strom, Inc. exporting LNG through Port Tampa Bay were heard at the Port board meeting yesterday morning. Port staff misunderstood Strom’s filing, but the Principal Counsel made a very strong statement against that or other LNG export or import through Port Tampa Bay.
During public comments, several speakers stated that a company called Strom had filed with the state a plan to transport LNG from Crystal River to Port Tampa Bay either via by truck or rail, and then export it from Port Tampa Bay.
I just want to clarify that Tampa Port Authority as a corporate entity doing business as Port Tampa Bay, does not have an agreement with Strom, and is not in negotiations with Strom, and does not plan to negotiate with Strom. Further, the port has no plans to export LNG through Port Tampa Bay, and any indication to the contrary is not correct.
So those statements made today, they are based upon perhaps a filing with the state by Strom, but we do not have an agreement with Strom. So therefore the port has not conducted any hearings in this matter, because we do not have an agreement with Strom, and we have no intention of entering an agreement with Strom, or exporting or importing LNG through our port. I just wanted that clarified.
Actually, it is not the State of Florida, rather the Department of Energy (DoE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE), that Strom has been telling since 2018 that:
“Strom has reached a tentative agreement with the Port of Tampa in Tampa Florida, for long-term leases for shipping of LNG.”
The attorney may have mentioned hearings, because earlier in that same meeting the Board had adopted rules for hearings, should anyone ever contest a Port Tampa Bay Board agreement.
At 01:53:30 through 01:54:21, Paul Anderson, President and CEO, Port Tampa Bay, added,
If I may, Mr. Chairman, since we are on this subject As a former federal regulator myself, I just want to offer that the regulatory oversight of LNG is federal with FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, oversight of siting and construction of those facilities. On the marine or maritime side, it’s the United States Coast Guard, and on the security side and offshore facilities, it’s the United States Coast Guard and MARAD, operating under the, uh, the United States Maritime Safety Act of 2002.
And we really have no oversight over that. I just wanted to make sure that, maybe the speakers would refer, it’s all federally regulated.
As Gandhi was reputed to say about western civilization: “that would be a good idea.”
It’s understandable that Anderson might not be up on the current state of federal non-regulation of LNG, since he was the Federal Maritime Commission Chairman until 2008.
Nominated to the Federal Maritime Commission by President George W. Bush in 2003, and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2004, Anderson served a five-year term ending in 2008. In addition, the president designated Anderson as the Commission’s Chairman and re-nominated him for a second five year term. A highlight of Anderson’s service included his appointment to the Committee on Marine Transportation, a cabinet-level strategy group responsible for the nation’s seaports and reporting directly to the president.
That was well before 2015, when FERC abdicated oversight of inland LNG facilities such as Strom. The DoE FE, which Anderson did not even mention, is required to decide on export permits within 90 days, so fast that many of its orders say it did not even review large parts of the permit applications. MARAD only applies to offshore operations. So there is no effective federal oversight of LNG export from inland outfits such as Strom.
But Port Tampa Bay does indeed have oversight over who can export through Port Tampa Bay. No agreement with Strom, no export by Strom through Port Tampa Bay.
Thanks to Maxine Connor for staying on the zoom to the bitter end, when she spotted the remarks by Krug and Anderson.
Thanks to Michelle Allen of Food and Water Watch for thinking of speaking to the Port Tampa Bay Board, and for forwarding their own zoom recording.
Thanks as always to Cecile Scofield for doggedly staying on this LNG case for many years.
Yesterday was a win for clean water, air, land, and public safety, not to mention ending LNG and getting on with clean solar and wind power!
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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