(April 28, 2005) -- During a nationally televised prime time news conference (April 28), President George W. Bush praised House passage of a federal Energy bill -- which contains provisions giving the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission supremacy in approving and regulating Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities.
"I applaud the House for passing a good energy bill. Now the Senate needs to act on this urgent priority...Congress needs to get an energy bill to my desk by this summer so I can sign it into law," the President said.
If the bill becomes law in its House form, it could effectively eliminate Port environmental authority and Council environmental appeal review over an 80+ million gallon LNG facility proposed in LB's Port, roughly two miles from downtown LB.
"One of the great sources of energy for the future is liquefied natural gas," the President said, adding "Gas is -- can only be transported by ship, though, when you liquefy it, when you put it in solid form. We've only got five terminals that are able to receive liquefied natural gas so it can get into our markets. We need more terminals to receive liquefied natural gas from around the world."
As the Energy bill now stands, its federal supremacy provisions would effectively end Port environmental review and Council appeal authority under CA law, putting FERC in charge under federal law.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., CA) has indicated she plans to introduce an amendment to delete the federal LNG superiority language in the Senate...but whether this will fare any better in the Republican majority Senate than it did in the Republican majority House remains to be seen.
In a House Committee and on the House floor, east coast Dems backed an amendment to delete the federal LNG provisions while Republicans mainly supported it. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R., HB-LB-PV) crossed party lines to vote for the amendment; Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald and Linda Sanchez (D., Lakewood) also voted for the amendment...which failed.
The Port of LB has not objected to federal supremacy asserted in connection with the LNG application submitted by a Mitsubishi subsidiary...and did not require the applicant to seek approval from the CA Public Utilities Commission. The Port's actions spawned a national test case which grew into the current federal legislation.
As previously reported by LBReport.com, LB City Hall uses the same firm to provide DC legislative advocacy services that simultaneously provides DC services to the Port of LB (under a separate Port-paid contract.)
City Attorney Shannon has said the federal legislation doesn't affect the Port's inherent power as landlord to say "no" to the LNG facility. The Port is currently working with FERC to process the application. The City Council to date has not taken a position endorsing or opposing the proposed LNG facility..but in 2003 did authorize entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the applicant.
Under the current City Charter, the Council has no power to decide the fate of LNG facility; it can only make recommendations to LB's non-elected Board of Harbor Commissioners.
[For related Digital Editorial Cartoon, click here.]