Congressmen Bill Cassidy and John Fleming proposed an amendment to the Energy and Water Appropriations Act of 2014 to prevent the Department of Energy (DOE) from factoring in the “perceived impact” of greenhouse gas emissions into the public interest determination process it uses to review LNG export applications.
Cassidy said: “As the largest producer of natural gas in the world, the United States has the ability to expand energy development at home and export liquid natural gas (LNG) to our allies abroad. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration is slow-walking the LNG export process and is now imposing more regulations to further complicate the process. The Cassidy-Fleming amendment would protect LNG export applications from more red tape.”
The U.S. Department of Energy, recently changed the process in which it reviews and approves LNG export application to Non-FTA countries. DOE is releasing a new environmental report, “Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Perspective on Exporting LNG from the United States,” that explores the lifecycle greenhouse gas impact of U.S. LNG exports. The report will be used as a decision-making tool regarding GHG emissions of U.S. LNG exports for use in electric power generation.
DOE claims that impacts are not “reasonably foreseeable” at this time, yet this initiative could potentially open the door to prolonged litigation that could force DOE to consider alternatives or impose mitigation measures on natural gas production through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). LNG export projects currently go through extensive environmental impact analysis during the project’s NEPA review. This new report adds another layer of political and legal risk to an already burdensome and difficult process.
The Cassidy-Fleming amendment prohibits DOE from applying the “Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Perspective on Exporting LNG from the United States” report, or the perceived impact on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions, in its LNG export public interest determination process.
Press Release, July 15, 2014; Image: cassidy.house.gov