U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) today announced that he has introduced legislation to restore the ability of states to play a necessary and vital role in the process of siting Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) facilities.
The bill (HR 4922) repeals a provision in the 2005 Energy bill that gave the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) the exclusive authority to site LNG facilities.
U.S. Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA), Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and James Langevin (D-RI) are original co-sponsors of the bill. U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has introduced the legislation in the Senate.
FERC does not currently seek adequate input from states in LNG siting reviews, and governors lack veto authority for onshore LNG terminals, despite having that authority for offshore terminals under the Deepwater Port Act. Although states and localities face all the potential risks and impacts of a LNG facility, they lack an equal voice in the siting and approval process. Prior to the 2005 Energy Bill, such decisions had historically been made by siting agencies in each state.
"The people of Southeastern Massachusetts have made it crystal clear that they do not want an LNG terminal in Fall River," Rep. McGovern said. "This legislation would ensure that those voices are heard. It's time to restore the decision-making power to the state authorities who have a greater understanding of local needs and concerns."
"I strongly support Congressman McGovern's bill that will undo the Bush-era energy provisions that give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission too much authority," Rep Frank said. "And I will continue to work with Congressman McGovern and Senator Kerry to defeat the ill-advised LNG proposal."
"The costs and benefits of proposed LNG facilities will be borne out by the states, so it only makes sense that states should be involved in the process of siting them," Rep Kennedy said. "In the case of Weaver's Cove, the people of Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts have spoken loudly against this dangerous and ill-conceived project. It is time for federal law to reflect that reality and allow states to have a greater say about those facilities they support and those they oppose."
"Rhode Islanders deserve to be involved in the siting of LNG terminals that will be located in their neighborhoods and that will affect how they travel around the state," Rep. Langevin said. "I am pleased to support Congressman McGovern's efforts to ensure states have the opportunity to fully and equally participate in this process."
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.