Press Release

March 2, 2010
Senators Want to Wrest Power Over Terminal Placement from FERC

WASHINGTON, DC – Working to give state entities the power to determine both the need for – and the location of – liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in their states, U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (Both D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chris Dodd (D-CT.), Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced legislation today to repeal portions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which gave that authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Prior to the passage of the 2005 Energy Bill, such decisions had historically been decided by siting agencies in each state.

“FERC has totally disregarded the safety risks of locating a LNG facility in a densely populated, urban area or what the substantial upgrades to security would entail. I am strongly opposed to locating an LNG facility at Sparrows Point and I am deeply concerned about security and environmental risks to the Port of Baltimore and Chesapeake Bay,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “We need to restore the decision-making power to the state authorities who have a greater understanding of our local communities.”

“I am adamantly opposed to an LNG facility at Sparrows Point, and deeply disappointed by FERC’s response to it. I found FERC all too eager to rubberstamp the project despite the significant and very real concerns of Baltimore residents and the State of Maryland. It’s time to restore the decision making to the state and local residents who will be affected by it. I commend Senator Wyden for this very important bill which will do just that,” Senator Mikulski said.

There are two proposals to site LNG terminals in Oregon, as well as terminals in Baltimore, Maryland and Long Island Sound, that have been approved by FERC despite opposition from the public and state and local officials and a lack of demonstrated need for increased supplies of liquid natural gas in those energy markets. FERC insists that it is not required to determine that the projects are actually needed in order to allow them to be built. FERC also refuses to determine whether alternatives to these projects could supply energy with less environmental impact. State officials have continued to challenge FERC’s authority to site these projects in court and in administrative challenges before FERC itself.