WASHINGTON DC – Working to give state entities the power to determine both the need for – and the location of – liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in their states, U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduced legislation today to repeal portions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which gave that authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Prior to the passage of the 2005 Energy Bill, such decisions had historically been decided by siting agencies in each state.
“It just doesn’t make sense to take states out of decisions that will affect their residents for years or decades to come,” said Merkley. “We need to give states a say and restore accountability. Momentous decisions about LNG terminals should only be done in partnership with local residents – not over their objections.”
“Oregonians have said time and again that they don’t want some federal agency 3,000 miles away forcing LNG terminals on them,” said Wyden. “I’m not going to stop until Oregonians get to decide whether or not they need LNG terminals and, if they do, where to put them.”
“The people of Connecticut, and no one else, should have the right to decide if and where one of these facilities will be located in our state,” said Dodd. “It’s time to repeal this remnant of the Bush administration’s anti-environmental policies and restore the decision-making regarding LNG terminals to the states and local authorities, where it belongs.”
“Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals can have a huge impact on coastal communities and regional economies,” Cantwell said. “This bill would restore the vital role local stakeholders should have in determining the merits of various proposals.”
“I am adamantly opposed to an LNG facility at Sparrows Point, and deeply disappointed by FERC’s response to it. I found FERC all too eager to rubberstamp the project despite the significant and very real concerns of Baltimore residents and the State of Maryland. It’s time to restore the decision making to the state and local residents who will be affected by it. I commend Senator Wyden for this very important bill which will do just that,” Senator Mikulski said.
“FERC has totally disregarded the safety risks of locating a LNG facility in a densely populated, urban area or what the substantial upgrades to security would entail. I am strongly opposed to locating an LNG facility at Sparrows Point and I am deeply concerned about security and environmental risks to the Port of Baltimore and Chesapeake Bay,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “We need to restore the decision-making power to the state authorities who have a greater understanding of our local communities.”
There are two proposals to site LNG terminals in Oregon, as well as terminals in Baltimore, Maryland and Long Island Sound, that have been approved by FERC despite opposition from the public and state and local officials and a lack of demonstrated need for increased supplies of liquid natural gas in those energy markets. FERC insists that it is not required to determine that the projects are actually needed in order to allow them to be built. FERC also refuses to determine whether alternatives to these projects could supply energy with less environmental impact. A third Oregon project is still pending before FERC. State officials have continued to challenge FERC’s authority to site these projects in court and in administrative challenges before FERC itself. In Oregon, the state has appealed FERC’s authorization of an LNG terminal at Bradwood Landing to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and is currently awaiting a decision. The legislation introduced today is identical to the bill introduced by Wyden in the last session of Congress, S. 2822.