Friday, June 10, 2005

Kennedy, Kerry, Feinstein want State Contol of LNG

Reacting to House efforts to put control over LNG permitting in the hands of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Massachussetts and California's U.S. Senators are seeking a mandated State approval:

Sens. Edward M. Kennedy and John Kerry, both D-Mass., said it will be a tough fight, but they are gathering support for an amendment to the energy bill, which the Senate will begin debating next week.

Their amendment, co-sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., would require LNG developers to get state approval before they file an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. It would give states one year to act, and it would require that any current application being considered by FERC go back through the state approval process.

The senators' proposal runs counter to current language in the energy bill that gives FERC greater authority in LNG sitings.

Feinstein, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other officials in coastal states where LNG terminals are pending oppose that language.

There should be some nuance in the proposal, however, as a distinction is missing on whether the bill prescribes a particular State approval process or simply that a proposal must go through a State approval process. In California, any number of State agencies could claim jurisdiction--from the State Lands Commission to the Coastal Commission to the PUC--and which has the appropriate authority is really determined by the nature of each proposal.