Tag Archives: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Need Show Cause for NFE Miami LNG, Strom LNG, etc. –WWALS to FERC 2021-07-30

I wondered why we were suddenly getting media inquiries about a letter WWALS sent to FERC two weeks ago. Yesterday FERC got around to posting it. Weirdly for a letter about Florida, in the docket for a Puerto Rico Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) facility. Well, we did cite FERC’s March 2021 Order in that docket as a precedent.

Interestingly, it’s marked:
Non-decisional: No

Does that mean FERC is willing to entertain what we asked? Send SHOW CAUSE letters to all five Florida facilities? Or revoke FERC’s 2015 abdication of oversight over inland LNG export facilities?

As the letter says, we are not fans of FERC. But no FERC environmental oversight turns out to be worse than FERC.

WWALS to FERC 2021-07-30

Accession Number 20210817-4000 as “Comments of WWALS Watershed Coalition re NFE Miami LNG under CP20-466.”

The letter references the 2015 FERC decision that it did not have jurisdiction over inland LNG facilities. That decision is Pivotal LNG, Inc., 151 FERC ¶ 61,006, (2 April 2015). Then-Commissioner Norman Bay dissented, writing in part:

Here, the majority acknowledges that “liquefaction facilities operated by Pivotal and its affiliate … [will] produce liquefied natural gas that [will] ultimately be exported to foreign nations by a third party” and that such foreign sales must be made pursuant to an export license from DOE.5 There can be little doubt, therefore, that the facilities will be involved in the “exportation of natural gas in foreign commerce.”

Until FERC revokes that 2015 abdication of oversight over inland LNG export facilities, the least it can do is to send SHOW CAUSE orders to each such facility demanding to know why it should not be under FERC oversight.

[Need Show Cause; Map of LNG export operations]
Need Show Cause; Map of LNG export operations

Incidentally, FERC Hotline Support replied about Nathaniel Davis: “He no longer works at FERC.” I had to forward the letter to Janel Burdick, the Deputy Director, Office of Enforcement, who is now also Acting Director. Does anybody know what happened to cause that personnel change at FERC? Continue reading

Ghost company: Strom LNG

A ghost company with no assets, not even an office or the land it claims for its Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) liquefaction facility, no investment, and no business partners. What reporters from Tampa Bay Times found was even worse than what what we found by attending a Port Tampa Bay board meeting: Port Tampa Bay has no agreement with Strom, and wants none. The reporters’ findings take us back to 2014.

Strom Inc. previously listed an Ybor City building as its physical location, which it no longer occupies. Pictured is the building. [ MALENA CAROLLO | Tampa Bay Times ]
Strom Inc. previously listed an Ybor City building as its physical location, which it no longer occupies. Pictured is the building. [ MALENA CAROLLO | Tampa Bay Times ]

Malena Carollo and Jay Cridlin, Tampa Bay Times, 20 July 2021, A company asked to ship gas through Tampa’s port. Then it ‘disappeared.’
A plan to transport liquefied natural gas from Citrus County to Tampa has activists concerned — even though details are scant.

The Tampa Port Authority’s June board meeting started like always, with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. Then came the call for public comments.

Most port board meetings feature one or two speakers, if any. This one had nine, queued up both on Zoom and in person. All had the same concern: An April report to the U.S. Department of Energy filed by a fuel company called Strom Inc.

Seven years ago, Strom obtained a license from the federal government and has quietly pursued a plan to move a fuel called “liquified natural gas,” or LNG, from a 174-acre facility in Crystal River to one of Florida’s ports via truck or train. Its April report indicated that Port Tampa Bay has tentatively agreed to be its choice.

The fuel is a form of natural gas that is cooled to become a liquid. It is most often used in countries that don’t have infrastructure to extract and transport the gas form of the energy source. Opponents say the fuel can be dangerous to transport, calling rail shipments “bomb trains,” and should bear public discussion before a decision is reached to move it through a city. That’s what prompted the cavalcade of speakers at the port.

Their questions came as a surprise to port leaders, because as one official told the speakers: Port Tampa Bay has no agreement with Strom. It is not negotiating with Strom. And it has no plans to export liquefied natural gas of any kind.

In fact, much of the information Strom has provided to the federal government about its efforts to produce and export liquefied natural gas, the Tampa Bay Times found, is outdated by years.

Not only does Strom have no agreement with Port Tampa Bay, it has no investors or outside backing, no natural gas supplier and does not own the Crystal River property on which it told the Department of Energy it plans to start building a production facility this year.

“It’s kind of like a ghost company,” said Don Taylor, president of the Economic Development Authority for Citrus County, who years ago worked with Strom as the company pursued economic incentives to build in Crystal River. “They just kind of disappeared, and we never heard from them again.”

There’s much more detail in the article, which is well worth reading.

The reporters even got a response out of the head of Strom, Inc.:

In an email to the Tampa Bay Times, Dean Wallace, Strom’s president and co-founder of its parent company, Glauben Besitz, LLC, called the discrepancies in its Department of Energy filings Continue reading

Port Tampa Bay has no agreement with Strom LNG, and wants none 2021-06-15

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.

[Strom, Port Tampa Bay, Attorney and CEO, Panelists]
Strom, Port Tampa Bay, Attorney and CEO, Panelists

In the Port’s own zoom recording, at 01:52:30, Charles E. Klug, Principal Counsel, Port Tampa Bay, said: Continue reading

A month late, yet identical to the last one: Strom LNG Semi-Annual Report to DoE FE 2021-05-03

Update 2021-06-16: Port Tampa Bay has no agreement with Strom LNG, and wants none 2021-06-15

Why, Strom, were you a month late filing a report, with only the dates changed from the previous one?

[Late Report, Crystal River to Tampa, Cruise ship]
Late Report, Crystal River to Tampa, Cruise ship

Strom has been promising to export via Port of Tampa since at least October 2018, and this filed-in-May semi-annual report for April 2021 to the Department of Energy (DoE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) still says: “Strom has reached a tentative agreement with the Port of Tampa in Tampa Florida, for long-term leases for shipping of LNG.”

Tomorrow morning, the Port Tampa Bay Board meets, 9:30-11:30 AM, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, both in person at Cruise Terminal 3, and via zoom. You can sign up to make a public comment, if you’re rather not have Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) tankers loading next to cruise ships, or LNG trucking down public highways past hospitals, schools, and businesses to get there.

Still in this late April Strom report, added last time for October 2020, is this: “Additionally, Strom, Inc. is actively in early stage negotiations with a third-party entity regarding a reverse-merger and anticipate filing a report upon completion.”

There’s still no information about who those backers are. Maybe you’d like to ask the Port Tampa Bay Board about that. Continue reading

FERC gets inland LNG half right, for Puerto Rico, and maybe more soon 2021-03-18

FERC actually told New Fortress Energy (NFE) it has 180 days to file an application for authorization to operate its Puerto Rico liquid natural gas (LNG) facility. I’m happy to admit I did not expect this.

[FERC Order and WWALS LNG facilty map]
FERC Order and WWALS LNG facilty map

Yet FERC failed to tell NFE to shut down meanwhile: “We also find that allowing operation of the facility to continue during the pendency of an application is in the public interest.” Translation: it would cost a fossil fuel company income.

But the best part is in a concurring letter. Continue reading

FERC listening sessions, Office of Public Participation 2021-03-17

The first of these is today at 1PM: “listening sessions” about the formation of FERC’s new Office of Public Participation (OPP). They are voice dial-in only.

[Sabal Trail pipeline gouging, FERC Office of Public Participation]
Sabal Trail pipeline gouging, FERC Office of Public Participation

Here is the invitation the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sent on March 9, 2021: Continue reading

WWALS thanks FERC for confirming that NFE never asked and FERC never inquired about oversight of Miami LNG facility 2020-12-31

FERC took more than two months to admit New Fortress Energy never asked FERC to say it had no oversight of NFE’s Miami LNG facility, and FERC never inquired.

So, is that facility operating illegally?

[WWALS letter and FERC 404]
WWALS letter and FERC 404


December 31, 2020

Cc: Toyia Johnson
FERC FOIA Public Liaison
foia-ceii@ferc.gov
202-502-6088

To: Ms. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20426
kimberly.bose@ferc.gov

Re: FERC response of December 8, 2020 to WWALS Freedom of Information Act Request, FERC FOIA No. FY21-04 or FOIA-2021-4, 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 December 8, 2020, to the WWALS FOIA request of October 12, 2020. Per request from FOIA Public Liaison Toyia Johnson in her cover email to which that FERC response was attached, this letter is confirmation that I did receive that response.

Thank you for confirming that FERC has no PETITION FOR DECLARATORY ORDER from New Fortress Energy (NFE) about its Miami Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) facility, and FERC sent no ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE about that facility, as well as confirming that FERC has no correspondence nor records of meetings with NFE about that facility

We conclude that because your letter of December 8, 2020, says:

“The search of the Commission’s non-public files identified no documents responsive to your request.”

In addition, in her email communication of November 25, 2020, FERC FOIA Liaison Toyia Johnson wrote: Continue reading

The illusion of pipeline invincibility is shattered –WWALS Brief to FERC in Sabal Trail Rehearing

Let’s cut to the chase in the letter we filed with FERC yesterday:

11. Historic new circumstances add up

The sun never set on the British Empire. Until it did.

No one circumstance ended that Empire, but it is easy to point at major events that accelerated its demise, such as the independence of India and the Suez Incident. Its fall started after the illusion of its invincibility was shattered by Gandhi’s campaign of civil disobedience and other events such as World War II.

The illusion of invincibility of the inland colonial empire of pipelines has been shattered by recent court orders about the ACP, DAPL, and others, and especially by the shut down of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the shuttering of the Constitution Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. All of those pipelines were expected to be built, and DAPL actually was built before being ordered to shut down and empty. Now the world knows that pipelines are not inevitable.

All these pipeline projects, like Sabal Trail, were opposed by nonviolent protests and political and legal actions. All those methods of opposition, combined with the sea-change in progress to renewable energy, eventually added up to a new and significantly different world than that in which Sabal Trail was permitted or re-permitted.

The shut down of DAPL and the abandonment of ACP as well as the court rejection of tolling orders make it a new world even since FERC’s June 19, 2020, Order granting a rehearing on Sierra Club’s motion.

FERC should initiate a new [Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement] EIS that should take into account Sabal Trail’s own track record of leaks and sinkholes, as well as leaks and accidents from [Liquid Natural Gas] LNG export and LNG transport in rail cars, the speeding demise of fossil fuels as evidenced by record low LNG export prices and bankruptcies of frackers, the court rejections of DAPL, ACP, and tolling orders and how much of Sabal Trail could never have been built through environmental justice communities without tolling orders, the coronavirus pandemic, and the rapid rise of renewable solar, wind, and battery power as evidenced by FPL and Sabal Trail partners Duke and NextEra, as well as by FERC’s own numbers. All of those new and significant circumstances make pipelines such as Sabal Trail toxic stranded assets, dangerous to the bank accounts of their investors, as well as to the environment, justice, and human health.

Conclusion

For the reasons stated above, WWALS asks FERC to grant Sierra Club’s motion for stay of the Commission’s letter order of April 22, 2020, to halt Sabal Trail Phase II, and to commence a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) taking into account all of the above new and significant circumstances.

[Third-party inspection, recission, stay, SEIS]
Third-party inspection, recission, stay, SEIS

For those who are not familiar with tolling orders, they are basically how, after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gives federal eminent domain to a private pipeline company, FERC lets that pipeline company take land before any payment to the landowner or even any agreement is reached. Without tolling orders, it’s not clear the FERC will ever get another pipeline built.

Here’s a longer explanation. Continue reading

Sabal Trail still below gas capacity 2020-04-26

Almost two years after starting to push gas, Sabal Trail still isn’t using all it’s already authorized for, so why does it need Phase II? Why are we still wasting money, water, and air on pipelines when solar panels long ago could have provided more electricity, faster, cheaper, and with no emissions and no eminent domain?

[Operational Capacity 2020-04-26-0900]
Operational Capacity 2020-04-26-0900
Map and data from FERC-required Sabal Trail Informational Postings.

If the point of the Phase II Albany, GA, and Dunnellon, FL, Compressor Stations is to pipe more gas to the Reunion Compressor Station, somebody should tell Sabal Trail the Mouse is closed due to pandemic.

Looks like Sabal Trail’s deliveries got stuck in April. Continue reading

Industry press: WWALS and Sierra Club oppose FERC rubberstamp of Sabal Trail compressor stations 2020-04-23

Sabal Trail is no exception to widespread pipeline opposition, notes a prominent fossil fuel industry publication, especially for the recent decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to authorize operation of Sabal Trail’s Phase II Albany, GA, compressor station during a virus pandemic. Neither Platts nor the AJC noted the Dunnellon, FL, compressor station was also authorized in Phase II, even though that site already leaked before station construction started.

[Platts: Sabal Trail Phase II Compressor Stations]
Platts: Sabal Trail Phase II Compressor Stations, from FERC Sabal Trail Final Environmental Impact Statement.

Maya Weber, Joe Fisher ed., S&P Global Platts, 2020-04-23, Sabal Trail gets FERC OK to start compression, over green group objections.

The article first rehearses Sabal Trail’s request for a six-month extension and about-face request for immediate operations, which FERC rubberstamped. You can read about that in more detail in the previous WWALS blog post. That post also has details of the WWALS and Sierra Club objections that the Platts article then notes.

[Site Plan]
Site Plan
PDF

Urging denial

Sierra Club and WWALS Watershed Coalition in recent weeks urged FERC to deny the request in separate filings.

“The Albany compressor station would increase air pollution—which has been linked to higher coronavirus death rates—in a predominantly African American community that has ‘one of the highest infection rates in the country,'” wrote Sierra Club attorney Elly Benson in an April 13 letter to FERC, citing news articles. “Now is not the time to needlessly increase the pollution burden on an environmental justice community that is particularly vulnerable to these threats.” She said 84% of residents within a half-mile radius of the Albany facility are African American.

[Aerial]
Aerial
PDF

But here’s a name we haven’t seen in a while.

Andrea Grover, Continue reading