WASHINGTON, April 2 Federal regulators should
approve construction of Sempra Energy's liquefied
natural gas export project by mid-June, the chair of the U.S.
Senate Energy Committee said on Wednesday, arguing that the
government needs to move swiftly to keep U.S. gas exports
Louisiana's Mary Landrieu urged the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission to release its final environmental review
of the project by April 30, as planned, and then to move forward
to issue a license.
The project, at Sempra's Cameron LNG terminal in Hackberry,
Louisiana, won conditional approval from the U.S. Department of
Energy to export LNG earlier this year, but it needs permission
from FERC before construction can begin.
"We must make certain that the regulatory process for
approval of LNG facilities such as (Sempra's) Cameron LNG does
not disadvantage American exporters in the battle for the huge
international LNG market," Landrieu said in a letter to FERC.
Landrieu is a major advocate for her home-state project and
has taken a more aggressive approach in support of gas exports
than did her predecessor, Oregon's Ron Wyden, who raised
concerns about unlimited gas exports and their potential to
raise domestic prices, hurting the manufacturing sector.
Landrieu said her office found that no significant new
issues were raised in response to FERC's draft review of Cameron
project, which concluded that the plant would not cause major
Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a
finding that said FERC's draft report was insufficient. The EPA
urged the commission to assess the impact of the increased
natural gas drilling that would be needed to support gas exports
before releasing its final review.
(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Ros Krasny and Steve