FERC stops review of abandoned Long Beach LNG project
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has suspended its review of the liquefied natural gas terminal planned at Long Beach, citing the developer's inability to resolve a dispute with local officials on the future of the project.
The FERC decision, announced last week, comes less than three weeks after a Los Angeles Superior Court judge affirmed a 2007 Port of Long Beach decision to essentially end development of the proposed 25-acre, $750 million LNG terminal that Sound Energy Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp., and ConocoPhillips, proposed to build less than a mile from downtown Long Beach.
The five-member Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners effectively scrapped the then three-year old project on Jan. 22, 2007 after deciding the terminal posed 'insurmountable' legal and safety challenges.
In suspending its review of the LNG project, FERC cited SES's inability to obtain a lease from Long Beach officials since the 2007 decision and stated that the situation has not changed.
“We are suspending our review of SES Terminal LLC’s Long Beach LNG import project based on the fact that SES does not have access to or control of its proposed LNG import terminal site,” wrote J. Mark Robinson, FERC's director of energy projects, in a March 3 letter to SES.
Local interest and community groups, who feared a catastrophic accident or terrorist attack at the terminal would cause severe damage and loss of life in the harbor and adjacent downtown Long Beach area, were vocal critics of the plan leading up to the board vote.
SES maintains the port improperly stopped the EIR process after certifying in a draft version of the environmental documents that the project was safe.
The Los Angeles court will formally enter the decision on April 9, after which SES could appeal.
FERC is a U.S. federal agency with jurisdiction over interstate electricity sales, wholesale electric rates, hydroelectric licensing, natural gas pricing, and oil pipeline rates. In addition to authorizing and reviewing LNG terminal projects in the U.S., FERC also oversees development of interstate natural gas pipelines and non-federal hydropower projects.