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    FERC Staff To Visit Proposed LNG Site in PoLB In Public Event, But Imposes Gag Order On Next Day's Technical Meeting Citing Security Issues To Be Discussed

    (June 24, 2004) -- The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has announced that on July 13, its staff and Port of LB (PoLB) staff will visit the LB Port site of a proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility sought to be built and operated by a Mitsubishi subsidiary, along with the project sponsor in attendance in an event open to the public.

    The next day, FERC intends to impose a de facto gag order on parties to the proceeding, intervenors and government reps who may attend a July 14 cryogenic design and technical conference at the Port of LB on the LNG proposal. Citing "the nature of security issues to be explored," FERC says those attending the July 14 conference must sign a non-disclosure agreement in advance.

    The July 13 site visit, in which staff from FERC's Office of Energy Projects and from the Port of LB will visit SES' proposed LNG facility with the project sponsor "will be open to the public," says a notice in the FERC docketed proceeding. "Anyone interested in participating should meet in front of the Administration Building at 925 Harbor Plaza in the POLB at 9:30am (PST) [sic PDT] on Tuesday, July 13, 2004. Participants must provide their own transportation to the site. For additional information concerning the site visit, please contact the Commission's Office of External Affairs at 1-866-208-FERC," FERC's notice states.

    FERC's notice states that on July 14, at 9:00 a.m., staff from FERC's Office of Energy Projects "will convene a cryogenic design and technical conference regarding SES' proposed LNG import terminal and storage facility" at the Port of LB Administration Building...but "[i]n view of the nature of security issues to be explored, the cryogenic conference will not be open to the public. Attendance at this conference will be limited to existing parties to the proceeding (anyone who has specifically requested to intervene as a party) and to representatives of interested federal, state, and local agencies."

    FERC's notice also says all attendees to the July 14 meeting "must sign a non-disclosure statement prior to entering the conference."

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