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    South Coast Air Quality Mgt. District Seeks To Intervene In FERC LB LNG Proceeding

    (April 18, 2004) -- The South Coast Air Quality Management District -- the air pollution control agency for Orange County and urban portions of L.A., Riverside and San Bernardino counties -- says in a legal filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility proposed to be built within the Port of Long Beach "is expected to be a substantial source of air contaminants that contribute to the Basin’s current violations of federal health-based air quality standards for ozone, sulfur oxides, and tiny particles smaller than 10 microns."

    SCAQMD said in its FERC filing that "the proposed SES [Mitsubishi subsidiary] project well exceeds federal major sources thresholds under the Clean Air Act, requiring SES to obtain Clean Air Act Title V permits. SCAQMD is the sole authorized permitting authority to issue such permits. Moreover, the SES project would also be required to meet SCAQMD’s air pollution control requirements, including those that are federally mandated."

    SCAQMD's contentions are included in an April 16 "out of time" (i.e. late filed) motion, seeking to intervene in FERC's proceeding that will determine whether to authorize siting, construction and operation of the proposed LNG facility.

    Apart from whether FERC authorizes the facility, LB's Mayor-nominated, City Council-approved Board of Harbor Commissioners would also have to approve it...and Harbor Commission certification of the project's Environmental Impact Report could be appealed to the elected City Council.

    SCAQMD notes that in February 2004, the CA Public Utilities Commission (as previously reported by told FERC that under CA law, the project applicant is a CA public utility and must obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the CPUC to build and operate the proposed LNG terminal. On March 24, 2004, FERC responded with a Declaratory Order Asserting Exclusive Jurisdiction. Court review is now expected to settle the state versus federal jurisdictional conflict.

    In seeking permission to intervene in the FERC LB proceeding, SCAQMD's motion says in pertinent part:

    Up until it first received a copy of [FERC's] March 24, 2004 Declaratory Order, SCAQMD had no reason to believe that there was any question as to whether SES would be required to obtain SCAQMD permits and meet its air pollution control requirements. Indeed, SES had approached and met with SCAQMD several times prior to the March 24 order to discuss SCAQMD’s permitting requirements in advance of submitting permit applications. At that time, SCAQMD was informed that the proposed project could emit annually up to 78 tons of sulfur oxides, 28 tons of nitrogen oxides, and over 5 tons of particulate matter. Moreover, as recently as April 13, 2004, SCAQMD was informed in writing by SES that it would be forthwith submitting permit applications to SCAQMD for the proposed project.

    The Mitsubishi subsidiary's web site says its project "will be environmentally friendly and beneficial to the port complex and the entire Southern California region. It will also provide a stable, alternative source of natural gas, which will enhance reliability of supply and ensure price competition." (Source: The web site's FAQ section says in part:

    Q. How can LNG help reduce the release of particulate matter (PM) in the Port area?

    A. LNG-powered engines emit 95% less particulate matter than their diesel-powered counterparts.

    Particulate matter is primarily unburned carbon. The single carbon atom in methane burns almost completely (as in LNG) whereas the more complex heavier hydrocarbon molecules with carbon-carbon double bonds are more difficult to burn completely (as in diesel). A simple household example is comparing a gas burner of a stove with a candle. The gas flame is blue (hydrogen burning) and no visible light from the carbon burning to CO2. A candle produces its yellow light from glowing but unburned carbon, which either then burns or becomes soot.

    Q. What facility and diesel truck monitoring will be associated with air quality?

    A. Facility emissions monitoring will meet or exceed all applicable South Coast air Quality management District (SCAQMD) or federal EPA requirements for all emissions. Typically, facility emissions are "monitored" either by performing emission source tests, calculating emissions through modeling, or continuous emissions monitors (CEMs). We have not yet determined the final requirements for the facility or related mobile (ships, trucks) emission sources. All equipment associated with the facility will meet or exceed applicable established emissions limits.

    Most mobile equipment is subject to federal or state emissions limitations. SES will only use equipment that meets applicable standards.

    Regarding equipment and/or facility permitting, SES does not have final information as to what the emission levels from the facility are projected to be. Once SES reviews and analyzes the information, SES will have a better understanding of the specific types of permits that may or may not be required.

    SES does not anticipate significant diesel truck traffic. Most, if not all, of the trucks that would use the LNG truck take away terminal would be LNG-powered. The remainder of the facility does not entail functions that rely on diesel trucks or other diesel-powered equipment. SES is not aware of any operating equipment monitoring requirement at this time. plans to report material that may be filed by the Mitsubishi subsidiary in response to SCAQMD's motion, and FERC's ruling on SCAQMD's motion to intervene, as these take place.

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