May 15 U.S. energy regulators said on Thursday
construction of the proposed Downeast liquefied natural gas
project in Maine would pose little harm to the environment.
The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
prepared a final environmental impact statement for the Downeast
LNG Project, FERC said in a release.
The environmental report is not a final decision on the
project. FERC said its Commissioners will take into
consideration staff's recommendations when they make a decision.
FERC did not say when its Commissioners will make that final
decision on the project.
Officials at Downeast were not immediately available for
Also on Thursday, the FERC staff said Dominion Resources
Inc's proposed Cove Point LNG export facility would not
have a significant impact on the environment.
FERC said Downeast LNG would provide about 500 million cubic
feet per day of imported natural gas to the New England region.
Although Downeast is a proposed LNG import terminal, which
makes sense for New England where demand for gas mostly for
power generation is rising, the recent U.S. LNG push has been
toward export terminals like Cove Point. Cove Point is already
an LNG import facility that wants to also become an LNG export
The United States is expected to become a net exporter of
gas in 2018 due in part to LNG export facilities and exports to
Mexico via pipeline, the U.S. Energy Information Administration
said in its Annual Energy Outlook.
The proposed Downeast facilities would be located in
Washington County, Maine, and include a new marine terminal; two
LNG storage tanks, each with a capacity of 160,000 cubic meters;
and a 29.8-mile (48-km) long, 30-inch (76-cm) diameter
underground natural gas pipeline.
FERC said its staff concluded that approval of the proposed
project, with the mitigation measures recommended, would ensure
that most impacts in the project area would be avoided or
reduced to less than significant levels.
Downeast is continuing consultation with federal and state
agencies to finalize a wetlands mitigation plan, FERC said.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Marguerita Choy)