Delegation Continues Fight to Prevent Federal Pre-Emption of Siting of Liquefied Natural Gas Terminals
Working to strip language from the final Energy Conference Report that would enable the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to override state and local concerns in the siting of Liquefied Natural Gas terminals, Delaware Senators Joseph Biden and Thomas Carper and Congressman Mike Castle today wrote to the Chair and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Committees of jurisdiction urging that the current policy of state determination is maintained. The text of the letter is below:
July 21, 2005
The Honorable Joe Barton & John Dingell - Chairman & Ranking Member of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce
The Honorable Pete Domenici & Jeff Bingaman - Chairman & Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources
Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members:
We are writing to express our concern over federal efforts to pre-empt state laws when siting Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals and respectfully request that any reference to federal preemption be removed from the final energy conference report. Specifically, we are opposed to provisions included in the House Energy bill that would change current law to grant the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) the ability to override state and local concerns in the siting of LNG terminals.
In current practice, both FERC and state authorities work together to monitor the siting of new LNG facilities. State and local governments have always had the power to determine whether a new or expanded terminal would pose a serious threat to public safety, the environment and coastal resources, or whether the site would be consistent with the land uses at the proposed location. We believe strongly that states should continue to play this critical role in the siting of such facilities.
There is no reason that FERC should be able to pre-empt states, or over-ride the decision of a community, from promoting or preventing the construction or expansion of a new LNG facility. The current siting system works. Just a few years ago, there were only two LNG terminals operating in the U.S. Now there are 5, and the federal government has recently approved seven new terminals to receive LNG imports (including 1 new facility approved just in April). This record shows that the federal government has successfully worked with states to approve new LNG terminals-without federal preemption.
We do not voice concern to oppose the siting of liquid natural gas terminals, but to emphasize the important role each state must have in working with FERC to ensure new terminals are sited in the most rational locations. There are clearly many advantages to clean-burning natural gas, but a national strategy-a strategy that includes states - is without a doubt necessary. We cannot continue to discuss the need for clean energy without discussing how we are going to increase the supply of clean fuels. However, Federal preemption in the siting of LNG facilities is not a workable solution. This is an issue important to Delaware-and so many coastal states, and we urge you to ensure that the final conference report uphold pur state's rights.