FERC Gives Short Response To Letter From LB State Senator Betty Karnette
Text of June 17 letter from FERC Chair Wood to State Senator Betty Karnette (D., LB)
FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION
(July 1, 2004) -- The Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has responded to a letter from State Senator Betty Karnette (D., LB) in which the LB area lawmaker had urged FERC to reconsider its assertion that FERC has exclusive regulatory authority -- and CA's Public Utilities Commission under CA law has none -- over siting and safety issues surrounding a proposed 80+ gallon Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility that Mitsubishi subsidiary SES wants to build and operate in the Port of LB.
In a three paragraph letter (two paragraphs of which are basically an open and close), FERC chairman Pat Wood, III said FERC issued a June 9 order that "fully addresses and thoroughly discusses the Commission's position and reasoning in arriving at its jurisdictional decision stated in the March 24, 2004 Declaratory Order Asserting Exclusive Jurisdiction."
Chairman Wood's letter attached copies of both FERC orders (which were already public with links posted on LBReport.com) and said Senator Karnette's "interest in the SES proposal is very much appreciated."
FERC recently posted its June 17 letter on its web site. LBReport.com posts the text below.
Senator Karnette's letter to FERC, dated May 25 and cc'd to CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and CA's five Public Utilities Commissioners, stated in part:
"I strongly agree with the CPUC’s assessment that SES is required, by law, to apply with the CPUC for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) and that FERC has no basis for preempting the State’s environmental requirements with regard to the proposed LNG facility...[T]he CPUC should have the statutory duty over safety and siting of natural gas facilities in California."
We also post the full text of Senator Karnette's letter below.
After sending the letter to FERC, Sen. Karnette's office emailed similar text in Letter to the Editor format to LBReport.com which we reported as a substantive news story. As LBReport.com previously reported, in May Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal (D., LB-SP-PV) told us that he supports CPUC's position on the jurisdictional issue.
In March 2004, FERC ruled that SES does not need CPUC's permission to proceed, and said SES does not have to fulfill CPUC's regulatory application process...and FERC declared itself the body with exclusive jurisdiction over safety and siting issues.
CPUC, and others including LB Citizens for Utility Reform (headed by LB activist Bry Myown) responded by requesting that FERC grant a re-hearing to reexamine its position.
In April, CPUC voted unanimously in April to begin its own regulatory proceedings into the SES LNG proposal regardless of FERC's position.
WASHINGTON, DC 20426
OFFICE OF THE CHAIRMAN
June 17, 2004
The Honorable Betty Kamette
California State Senate
State Capitol, Room 5066
Sacramento, CA 95814-4900
Re: Sound Energy Solutions, Docket Nos. CP04-58-000 and CP04-58-001
Dear Senator Karnette:
Thank you for your May 25, 2004 letter supporting the California Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC's) position regarding jurisdictional issues relating to the proposal
by Sound Energy Solutions (SES) to construct a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Long Beach.
In response to rehearing requests made by the CPUC and others, the Commission, on June 9, 2004, issued its Order Denying Requests For Rehearing, Denying Request For Stay, And Clarifying Prior Order (June 9 Order) in Docket No. CP04-58-001. I believe that the June 9 Order fully addresses and thoroughly discusses the Commission's position and reasoning in arriving at its jurisdictional decision stated in the March 24, 2004 Declaratory Order Asserting Exclusive Jurisdiction in the SES proposal in Docket No. CP04-58-000. I have enclosed a copy of each of these orders for your convenience.
Your interest in the SES proposal is very much appreciated. As is our policy, copies of your letter and this response have been placed in our public files for this proceeding. If I can be of further assistance in this or any other Commission matter, please let me know.
s/ Pat Wood, III
Text of Sen. Karnette's letter to FERC Chair Wood
May 25, 2004
Dear Chairman Wood:
I am writing in support of the California Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC) regarding jurisdictional issues related to the Sound Energy Solutions (SES) proposal to construct a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Long Beach.
I strongly agree with the CPUC’s assessment that SES is required, by law, to apply with the CPUC for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) and that FERC has no basis for preempting the State’s environmental requirements with regard to the proposed LNG facility. Environmental, safety and security issues related to the proposed facility must be addressed at the state and local levels.
SES’s proposal to sell LNG in California's natural gas market clearly qualifies them as a public utility under California’s Public Utilities Code. As a result, the CPUC should have the statutory duty over safety and siting of natural gas facilities in California.
Preserving our environment and improving safety and security at and around our ports is paramount. The State of California, and local stakeholders in particular, must play the key role in any final decision that is made.
Thank you for your consideration of this issue at this challenging time.
State Senator, 27th District
cc: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
CPUC President Michael Peevey
CPUC Commissioner Loretta Lynch
CPUC Commissioner Carl Wood
CPUC Commissioner Geoffrey Brown
CPUC Commissioner Susan Kennedy
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