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Sierra Club Drops Opposition to Sabine Pass LNG Exports

The Sierra Club last week moved to voluntarily dismiss the fifth lawsuit it has filed in federal court since 2015 that attempted to contest approvals of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from facilities in Louisiana, Maryland and Texas.

The environmental group last Wednesday asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to dismiss its petition to review the March 2016 order by the Department of Energy (DOE) authorizing LNG exports via Cheniere Energy Inc.'s Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Cameron Parish, LA. The Sierra Club had also petitioned the court to review a DOE order denying a request for a rehearing over the matter (Sierra Club v. DOE, No. 16-1426). Oral arguments in the case were scheduled for Feb. 12

The move to dismiss follows the court's rejection last year of four similar Sierra Club lawsuits. Last August, the court dismissed a lawsuit filed in December 2015 challenging DOE's authorization of exports from the Freeport LNG terminal on Quintana Island, TX. The courtalso dismissed three lawsuits filed in June and July of 2016 to thwart exports from Sabine Pass; the Dominion Cove Point LNG LP terminal near Lusby, MD; and Cheniere's Corpus Christi Liquefaction LLC project, which isunder construction.

"The issues in this particular case were very similar to the ones that the court decided in November," Sierra Club attorney Nathan Matthews told NGI on Friday. The four cases, all titled  Sierra Club v. DOE, were against Freeport, in case No. 15-1489; Cove Point, No. 16-1186; Sabine, No. 16-1252; and Corpus Christi, No. 16-1253.

The Sierra Club had argued that DOE failed to meet its obligations under the Natural Gas Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Specifically, the group said DOE had not sufficiently examined the indirect effects of approving LNG exports, the impacts of increased domestic natural gas production, or the cumulative environmental effects of other export projects.

Matthews said the Sierra Club remains opposed to the proposed Jordan Cove LNG export terminal at Coos Bay, OR, overseen by Calgary-based Veresen Inc.

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