U.S. groups seek more time to comment on Dominion LNG export project

WASHINGTON Wed May 21, 2014 4:14pm EDT

WASHINGTON May 21 (Reuters) - U.S. green groups asked federal regulators on Wednesday to allow more time for public comment on an environmental review of Dominion Resources' Cove Point liquefied natural gas export project, a move that could delay permitting for the facility.

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Earthjustice petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to extend its comment period for the review by 60 days, which would push the deadline for public input on the project to Aug. 13.

The groups said additional time was needed to "fully analyze the highly technical information" included in the review issued last week, which found Dominion's Cove Point project would not have a significant impact on the environment.

Absent a delay, FERC is expected to decide on the project's fate some time this summer. The Cove Point complex is on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, a little more than a hour's drive from Washington.

Environmentalists have criticized FERC for issuing a relatively brief environmental assessment of Cove Point, instead of a detailed environmental impact statement.

Unlike impact statements, environmental assessments prepared by federal agencies are meant to be concise documents without an abundance of long descriptions or detailed data. (Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Ros Krasny and Mohammad Zargham)

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