Tag Archives: Richard Glick

FERC Requests Comments on Rulemaking for small inland LNG export facilities

Hahira Georgia, July 26, 2022 — At the request of WWALS Watershed Coalition, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has opened a process that could correct its mistakes of eight years ago when it disclaimed oversight of dangerous compressed methane export facilities as long as they did not load directly onto ocean-going ships. Those decisions produced environmental, safety, and economic problems. The request provides FERC with an opportunity to “revisit” and “revise” those old decisions, as FERC Chair Richard Glick has recommended.

LNG tanker truck, Southbound I-75, 2018-03-26; Photo John S. Quarterman
LNG tanker truck, Southbound I-75, 2018-03-26; Photo John S. Quarterman

Anyone can comment and organizations can intervene on this new FERC docket for potential Rulemaking on Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) export. The deadline is September 20, 2022. That’s Docket RM22-21 on ferc.gov. Detailed instructions are below.

Please also contact your state and national elected officials and ask them to ask FERC to resume its oversight.

The Introduction of the Petition lays out the problem we want to get solved: Continue reading

FERC requests comments on WWALS Petition for Rulemaking on FERC Oversight of Small-Scale Inland LNG Export Facilities 2022-07-22

Update 2022-07-26: Press release, FERC Requests Comments on Rulemaking for small inland LNG export facilities.

FERC has created a docket for our petition and has filed in it a notice requesting comments by September 20, 2022.

[Notice and map]
Notice and map

Interested parties can file in that docket RM22-21 to intervene and then file comments and motions.

Also on Friday, FERC asked if we wanted to file the cover letter in the docket, so I did. It feels very strange to have FERC politely asking us to file things.

Thanks again to Continue reading

Petition for Rulemaking on FERC Oversight of Small-Scale Inland LNG Export Facilities 2022-07-22

Update 2022-07-23: FERC requests comments on WWALS Petition for Rulemaking on FERC Oversight of Small-Scale Inland LNG Export Facilities 2022-07-22.

FERC has filed our petition in a new docket, RM22-21. We shall see what they do from there on this request to open a Rulemaking to revisit, as FERC Chair Richard Glick has suggested, FERC’s decisions of 2014 and 2015 that left small inland LNG export facilities without environmental oversight.

[What and by Whom]
What and by Whom

Many thanks to Cecile Scofield for keeping after this issue for years, and to the rest of the WWALS Issues Committee.

And thanks to each of our co-signers, Continue reading

Petition to Initiate a Rulemaking for Small-Scale Inland LNG Export Facilities –WWALS to FERC 2021-11-19

Update 2022-07-22: New method, now in a new FERC docket, Petition for Rulemaking on FERC Oversight of Small-Scale Inland LNG Export Facilities 2022-07-22.

Suwannee Riverkeeper asks FERC to oversee inland Liquid Natural Gas export facilities

Hahira, Georgia, November 26, 2021 (PDF)  —  After years of trying to get FERC to pay attention to an economic, health, and safety issue, Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. has asked FERC to make a rule requiring inland LNG export facilities at least to ask FERC whether it has oversight.

Because the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) half a decade ago disclaimed oversight of export facilities for explosive compressed Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) unless ships loaded right there for overseas shipping, such facilities are lacking FERC’s environmental, construction, and safety oversight, causing risk of “ loss of life and significant environmental and economic consequences,” according to FERC’s own strategic plan. Residents of densely populated neighborhoods where inland LNG export plants are being sited, constructed, and operated are in harm’s way. FERC has relegated the responsibility to citizens to police potential threats to public health, safety and welfare posed by these high-risk LNG operations. There are no official Dockets that provide the public an opportunity to participate in any approval process.

[LNG export facilities; WWALS Rulemaking petition to FERC]
LNG export facilities; WWALS Rulemaking petition to FERC

Even a competing inland LNG company complained of economic issues: “During its pendency, the Commission has determined that certain LNG projects are outside its jurisdiction, permitting those projects to compete free from the FERC regulatory burdens that FGS and other FERC-regulated projects bear in what has become an active, urgent and highly competitive small-scale LNG market."

WWALS views the FERC regulatory burdens as public goods of construction, environmental, and safety review, but the point remains that competition has been warped by FERC’s inland LNG export decisions.

“We filed this Petition under the same Federal law as three cases back in 2013-2015 when FERC abdicated oversight of inland LNG export operations,” said WWALS member Cecile Scofield, who opposed an ill-conceived huge 8 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per year LNG import terminal in Massachusetts in early 2000 .   She also noted that, “A Rulemaking is needed to determine FERC jurisdiction before a developer spends millions of dollars constructing an inland export facility only to have it shut down by FERC after it begins operation.”

“Last March, 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 rubberstamps four rehearing denials and a new pipeline on a Friday 2018-08-10

Scurrying to use its rubberstamp before a Commissioner departing leaves it tied 2:2, FERC once again rubberstamped multiple pipelines, this time three on a Friday plus an LNG export project, while neither its main online library nor its backup library yielded copies of the orders.

I found these four by googling:

  • 164 FERC ¶ 61,099 Florida Southeast Connection, LLC Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, Sabal Trail Transmission, Docket Nos. CP14-554-003, LLC CP15-16-004, LLC CP15-17-003, ORDER DENYING REHEARING, Issued August 10, 2018
  • 164 FERC ¶ 61,098, PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC, Docket No. CP15-558-001, ORDER ON REHEARING, August 10, 2018.
  • 164 FERC ¶ 61,100, Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, Dominion Transmission, Inc., Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc., Docket Nos. CP15-554-002, CP15-555-001, CP15-556-001, Order on Rehearing, August 10 2018.
  • 164 FERC ¶ 61,102, Dominion Energy Cove Point LNG, LP, Docket No. CP17-15-001, ORDER DENYING REHEARING, August 10, 2018.

Oh, wait, a mention of a docket number in a FERC agenda leads me to one more Friday rubberstamp, of a new Transco pipeline in New Jersey:

FERC rubberstamp

  • 164 FERC ¶ 61,101, Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC, Docket No. CP17-490-000, ORDER ISSUING CERTIFICATE, August 10, 2018.

Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur dissented from Continue reading

Glick and LaFleur dissent again from a Spectra pipeline permit 2018-07-19

FERC just rubberstamped three pipelines before Commissioner Robert Powelson exits next month. Yet Commissioners Glick and LaFleur are still complaining every time about lack of use of Social Cost of Carbon to account for Greenhouse Gases (GHG). Those dissents started after Sierra Club won against FERC and Sabal Trail in the DC District Court on just that subject; recently FERC and Sabal Trail declined to appeal to the Supreme Court, thus admitting the pipeline company and its permitter lost that case.

Open Season, Maps
Open Season Maps, TX-LA Pipeline Project

Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur spelled out the connection in her dissent on Spectra’s Texas-Louisiana Markets Project:

I believe the fact pattern presented in this case, a pipeline designed to serve a specific known downstream powerplant, falls squarely within the precedent of Sierra Club v. FERC.1 Given that the majority’s analysis here suffers from the same flaws as its decision on remand in Sabal Trail,2 I respectfully dissent.

Commissioner Richard Glick in his dissent on the same pipeline also explicitly cited Sierra Club v. FERC (Sabal Trail) and went further about the specific underlying laws FERC is shirking:

“Today, the Commission issues a certificate to Texas Eastern Transmission, LP to construct and operate the Texas Industrial Market Expansion Project and the Louisiana Market Expansion Project (Projects), concluding that the Projects are required by the public convenience and necessity.1 The Commission also finds that the Projects will not have a significant effect on the environment.2 In reaching these conclusions, the Commission maintains that it need not consider the harm caused by the Projects’ contribution to climate change. The Commission’s refusal to do so falls well short of our obligations under the Natural Gas Act (NGA)3 and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).4 Because I disagree with these conclusions and believe the Commission cannot find that the Projects are in the public interest without first considering the significance of the Projects’ contribution to climate change,5 I dissent in part from the Commission’s action today.

And yes, he really wrote “shirk”: Continue reading

Deadline for FERC rulemaking comments 2018-07-25

In addition to probably signing onto comments by a larger entity, WWALS is preparing comments for FERC in response to its Notice of Inquiry (NOI) about “Certification of New Interstate Natural Gas Facilities”. FERC’s current deadline is this Wednesday, 25 July 2018. Please send any suggestions you may have to wwalswatershed@gmail.com. Or file your own comments. Apologies for the late request.

Here’s what FERC has asked for:

In the NOI, the Commission sought input on whether, and if so how, the Commission should adjust: (1) its methodology for determining whether there is a need for a proposed project, including the Commission’s consideration of precedent agreements and contracts for service as evidence of such need; (2) its consideration of the potential exercise of eminent domain and of landowner interests related to a proposed project; and (3) its evaluation of the environmental impact of a proposed project. The Commission also sought input on whether there are specific changes the Commission could consider implementing to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its certificate processes including pre-filing, post-filing, and post-order issuance.

South Georgia and north Florida
Sabal Trail through south Georgia and north Florida.
Map by Geology Prof. Can Denizman for WWALS.net, 17 September 2016, as part of Sabal Trail maps digitized.

Here are some relevant documents, starting with a how-to in case you want to file your own comments directly with FERC: Continue reading

Powelson leaves FERC with a split board as Sabal Trail loses legal cases 2018-07-02

Just one day before FERC admitted Sierra Club won in D.C. District Court, and a week after Sabal Trail Sabal Trail lost a jury trial in the U.S. Middle District of Georgia in Valdosta, something else at FERC put pause to further pipeline and LNG export rubberstamps.

Ellen M. Gilmer, Rod Kuckro and Sam Mintz, E&& News, 2 July 2018, Powelson’s departure means fallout for pipelines, policies,

Robert F. Powelson by FERC
Photo: FERC, of Robert F. Powelson, via E&E News

Robert Powelson’s decision to exit the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission less than a year into his term could leave natural gas pipeline developers in the lurch and policy critics scrambling for how to approach the commission’s coming 2-2 partisan split.

That’s the consensus among Continue reading

FERC and Sabal Trail admit Sierra Club won 2018-07-03

One week after losing a jury trial in the U.S. Middle District Court of Georgia, the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline and its purveyor of federal eminent domain, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), declined to appeal their huge DC District Court loss of last August.

Sierra Club, Press Release, 3 July 2018, Fracked Gas Pipeline Company and Federal Regulator Will Not Seek Supreme Court Review of Landmark Ruling: Existing Decision Means FERC Must Consider Downstream Greenhouse Gas Emissions,

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Neither the builders of the fracked gas Sabal Trail Pipeline nor the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will ask the Supreme Court to review a landmark ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from last year. That decision required FERC to consider the effects of downstream greenhouse gases when deciding whether to approve proposed pipelines that transport gas.

In response, Sierra Club Staff Attorney Elly Benson released the following statement:

Elly Benson, Sierra Club Attorney
Elly Benson, Sierra Club Staff Attorney

“We are glad to see FERC accept its responsibility to consider greenhouse gas emissions from burning transported gas at downstream power plants. These dirty, dangerous, and unnecessary pipelines pose a threat to our communities and climate. They should not be proposed, much less built, at a time when clean, renewable energy sources are abundant and affordable. We will continue to monitor the pipeline permitting process to ensure the law is followed.”

The pipeline industry press was not thrilled. Charlie Passut, Natural Gas Intelligence, 5 July 2018, FERC Declines to Appeal Landmark GHG Case to Supreme Court, Continue reading