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    News

    Salient Portions of LNG Sections in House-Senate Energy Bill Set For Final Vote


    (July 28, 2005) -- LBReport.com posts below salient portions of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) sections of a federal Energy bill ("Energy Policy Act of 2005"), agreed to by a House-Senate conference committee and forwarded for final votes in the House and Senate expected within the next 24-48 hours.

    President Bush has indicated he will sign the bill.

    [LBReport.com has blitz transcribed salient portions; the bill's full text will shortly be posted in the Congressional Record at which time we'll update our transcription with official text.]

    ...Section 311 (c)(2)(e)(1) The Commission (FERC) shall have exclusive jurisdiction to approve or deny an application for the siting, construction, expansion or operation of an LNG terminal...

    (2) Upon the filing of any application to site, construct, expand or operate an LNG terminal, the Commission shall --

    (A) set the matter for hearing
    (B) give reasonable notice of the hearing to all interested persons...
    (C) decide the matter in accordance with this subjection and
    (D) issue or deny the appropriate order accordingly.

    State and Local Safety Considerations

    (d) SEC 3(a)...The Commission shall promulgate regulations on the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 pre-filing process within 60 days after the enactment of this section,,, (b) The Governor of a State in which an LNG terminal is proposed to be located shall designate the appropriate State agency for the purpose of consulting with the Commission regarding an application...The Commission shall consult with such State agency regarding State and local safety considerations prior to issuing an order...For purposes of this section, State and local safety considerations include -

    (1) the kind and use of the facility
    (2) the existing and projected population and demographic characteristics of the location
    (3) the existing and proposed land use near the location
    (4) the natural and physical aspects of the location
    (5) the emergency response capabilities near the facility location
    (6) the need to encourage remote siting

    The state agency may furnish an advisory report on State and local safety considerations to the Commission no later than 30 days after an application was filed with the Commission...[T]he Commission shall review and respond specifically to the issues raised by the State agency...This subsection shall apply to any application filed after the date of enactment [of this bill]

    (e)(1)...In any order authorizing an LNG terminal the Commission shall require the LNG terminal operator to develop an Emergency Response Plan. The Emergency Response Plan shall be prepared in consultation with the U.S. Coast Guard and State and local agencies and be approved by the Commission prior to any final approval to begin construction. The plan shall include a cost-sharing plan.

    A cost sharing plan developed under paragraph (1) shall include a description of any direct cost reimbursements that the applicant agrees to provide to any State and local agencies with responsibility for security and safety

    (A) At the LNG terminal
    (B) in proximity to vessels that serve the facility...

    Sec 313 PROCESS CCORDINATION; HEARINGS; RULES OF PROCEDURE

    ...(b) DESIGNATION AS LEAD AGENCY

    (1) In General -- The Commission shall act as the lead agency for the purposes of coordination all applicable Federal authorizations and for the purposes of complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969...

    (2) Other Agencies -- Each federal and state agency considering an aspect of an application for Federal authorization shall cooperate with the Commission and comply with the deadlines established by the Commission

    (c) Schedule

    (1) Commission authority to set schedule -- The Commission shall establish a schedule for all Federal authorizations. In establishing the schedule, the Commission shall --

    (A) ensure expeditious completion of all such proceedings
    (B) comply with all applicable schedules established by Federal law

    (2) Failure to meet schedule -- If a federal or state administrative agency does not complete a proceeding for an approval that is required for a Federal authorization in accordance with the schedule established by the Commission, the applicant may pursue remedies under section 19(d)...

    (b) Section 19 of the Natural Gas Act...is amended by adding

    (d) Judicial review

    (1) In General -- The United States Court of Appeals for the circuit in which a facility...is proposed to be constructed, expanded or operated shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over any civil action for the review of an order or action of a Federal agency (other than the Commission [FERC]), or State administrative agency acting pursuant to Federal law to issue, condition, or deny any permit, license, concurrence or approval (hereinafter collectively referred to as "permit") required under any Federal law, other than the Coastal Zone Management Act...

    (2) Agency Delay -- The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over any civil action for the review of an alleged failure to act by a Federal agency (other than the Commission) or State administrative agency acting pursuant to a Federal law to issue, condition or deny any permit required under Federal law, other than the Coastal Zone Management Act...The failure of an agency to take action on a permit required under Federal law, other than the Coastal Zone Management Act..., in accordance with the Commission [FERC] schedule...shall be considered inconsistent with Federal law for the purpose of paragraph (3).

    (3) Court Action -- If the Court finds that such order or action is inconsistent with Federal law governing such permit and would prevent the construction, expansion or operation of the facility...the Court shall remand the proceeding to the agency to take appropriate action consistent with the order of the Court. If the Court remands the order or action to the Federal or State agency, the Court shall set a reasonable schedule for the agency to act on the remand.

    ...

    Section 315

    (b) Civil Penalty Authority

    Sec. 22(a). Any person that violates this Act, or any rule, regulation, restriction, condition or order made or impose by the Commission under authority of this Act shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000,000 per day per violation for as long as the violation continues...

    (c) In determining the amount of a proposed penalty, the Commission shall take into consideration the nature and seriousness of the violation and the efforts to remedy the violation...

    Section 317 -- Federal-state Liquefied Natural Gas Forums

    (a) In General -- Not later than 1 year after the enactment of this Act, the Secretary [of Energy] in cooperation and consultation with the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Governors of the coastal states, shall convene not less than 3 forums on liquefied natural gas.

    (b) The forums shall:

    (1) be located in areas where liquefied natural gas facilities are under construction
    (2) be designed to foster dialogue among Federal officials, State and local officials, the general public, independent experts, and industry representatives, and
    (3) at a minimum, provide an opportunity for public education and dialogue on

    (A) the role of liquefied natural gas in meeting current and future United States energy supply requirements and demand...
    (B) the Federal and State siting and permitting processes
    (C) the potential risks and rewards associated with importing liquefied natural gas
    (D) the Federal safety and environmental requirements (including regulations) applicable to liquefied natural gas
    (E) prevention, mitigation,.and response strategies for liquefied natural gas hazards; and
    (F) additional issues as appropriate.

    (c) Purpose -- The purpose of the forums shall be to identify and develop best practices for addressing the issues and challenges associated with liquefied natural gas imports, building on existing cooperative efforts.


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