April 2019, Vol. 246, No. 4


FERC Chairman Lauds New Framework for Approving LNG Terminals

The FERC’s weighing of greenhouse gas emissions also comes into play in its consideration of LNG facilities. So, it was noteworthy that FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur concurred with the two Republican commissioners in approving the first LNG project that the Trump administration has greenlighted. That is Venture Global’s Calcasieu Pass LNG export project in Cameron Parish, La. 

FERC voted 3-1 on Feb 21, with Democratic Commissioner Richard Glick dissenting. In announcing the decision, Chairman Neil Chatterjee said, “I really appreciate the efforts of my colleagues to work together to come to an agreement on this facility. This is significant, as I anticipate we’ll be able to use the framework developed in this order to evaluate the other LNG certificates that the Commission is considering.”     

LaFleur wanted to weigh the Calcasieu Pass terminal’s emissions, along with those from other LNG terminals in the area, to make a decision based on that local or regional impact, not based on a national impact. She acknowledged the benefits of the project but wasn’t committing to taking the same position in upcoming decisions. 

There are 12 pending LNG applications before FERC, and LaFleur’s term is over in June. The White House hasn’t indicated whether she will be re-nominated, nor has it announced a Republican nominee for the fifth commission seat, which is vacant. 

A Washington attorney who works on LNG projects said LaFleur had been, prior to the Trump administration, a fairly steady supporter of industry projects. She thinks maybe LaFleur’s concurring decision was an attempt to retain some industry approval while at the same time satisfying Democratic senators, who will have a say in whether she stays.


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