| WASHINGTON, March 14
WASHINGTON, March 14 Freeport LNG Development
LP's proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal will not
cause significant environmental harm, a draft federal review
concluded on Friday, paving the way for possible approval for
the project this year.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's preliminary
environmental analysis found that the terminal on Quintana
Island, Texas, would cause mostly "temporary and short-term"
impacts since the project would be an expansion of an import
terminal and the company planned to take steps to mitigate
effects of construction.
Some lawmakers, including the speaker of the House of
Representatives John Boehner, have called for quicker processing
of more than two dozen projects seeking federal approval to
build terminals to ship U.S. gas abroad, in hopes of undermining
Russian influence on the natural gas market. Russia's recent
invasion of the Crimea region in Ukraine has led to concerns
about Ukrainian and European dependence on Russia for the energy
U.S. LNG exports were expected to begin trickling next year
and would not flow extensively until years later.
Companies need approval from both the Energy Department,
which determines whether the proposed exports would be in the
public interest, and FERC, which assesses safety and
environmental effects of the projects' construction and
Freeport is one of four companies that received permission
from the Energy Department but were waiting for a decision from
The commission had said it expected to issue a final
environmental review of the Freeport project by June 16. Based
on internal guidelines, a final decision was expected in
FERC's draft environmental review found the only significant
impacts from the project would be traffic, noise, dust and air
pollution during construction, which would mostly affect
residents near the terminal.
Those impacts would be unavoidable, FERC determined. The
company's proposal would minimize soil and wetlands pollution
and not hurt any threatened or endangered species, the review
The commission will accept comments on the environmental
review through May 5.
FERC this week also laid out a schedule for its review of
Dominion Resources Inc's proposed Cove Point export
terminal in Maryland. The final environmental assessment was due
by May 15, and analysts predicted the commission could issue a
final decision as early as June.
Cheniere Energy Inc's Sabine Pass terminal in
Louisiana is the only project that has received export approval
from both agencies so far.