Letter to Secretary of Energy Hon. Samuel W. Bodman
May 9, 2006
The Honorable Samuel W. Bodman
Secretary of Energy
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20585
Dear Secretary Bodman:
We want to thank you for taking the time to meet with members of the New England delegation last week about the need for a coordinated and rational liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal siting process to meet the region's energy needs. Given that LNG facilities bring with them significant security, economic and environmental concerns, we believe it is imperative that the government - specifically the Department of Energy - act promptly to help establish a more comprehensive and regional approach to siting these facilities.
As you know, several agencies share responsibility for federal approval of new LNG import terminals. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) grants federal approval for the siting of onshore LNG facilities. The FERC also authorizes the construction and operation of interstate natural gas pipelines. However, the Coast Guard has primary responsibility for the siting and construction of offshore LNG facilities. The Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, and other agencies also play roles in the permitting processes for LNG facilities.
This assortment of responsible agencies has lead to a disjointed and highly problematic process. Beyond the lack of coordination, during our meeting we highlighted several additional concerns: lack of state's rights in the siting process; the ad hoc manner in which each proposed site is evaluated individually, as opposed to regionally; the need to include a more comprehensive regional and national supply and demand of LNG in the assessment of these proposals; and the need to bring the Department of Homeland Security into the process. As you heard, these are not problems specific to one state -they affect all of the New England states.
For these reasons, we wrote to ask you to take the first step in solving this critical issue by convening an LNG summit of the coastal New England states and New York and New Jersey. In addition to participation by the Department of Energy, we also request the FERC, the Coast Guard, and representatives of other stakeholders (e.g. affected cities and towns, electric and gas utilities, consumer groups and commercial and industrial users) be included.
We all recognize the need to construct additional LNG facilities in New England. At the same time, it has become very clear to us that a new strategy for siting these facilities is needed immediately. We believe this summit is the first step towards achieving that goal.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. We look forward to your response.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy
Senator John F. Kerry
Congressman Barney Frank
Congressman Edward J. Markey
Congressman William D. Delahunt
Congressman James P. McGovern
Congressman Stephen F. Lynch
Congressman Christopher Shays
Congressman Robert R. Simmons
Congressman James Langevin