Liquefied natural gas (LNG) importers may get a little federal assistance next month when the Department of Energy (DOE), Homeland Security, FERC and the Department of Transportation begin a series of forums aimed at educating the public on LNG issues. The first in a series public education forums on LNG has been scheduled for March 10 at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston.
DOE Secretary Samuel Bodman said the forums, which were a requirement from the Energy Policy Act of 2005, will "initiate constructive dialogue among community members, local, state, and federal government leaders. This forum is one step, of many, that will help us address and evaluate our energy needs, and increase America's energy security," he said.
DOE stressed that the forums are not designed to promote LNG, but instead to educate the public about LNG, what it is, how it gets here, the role it plays in meeting demand, the potential risks and rewards of LNG imports, current safety and environmental requirements associated with LNG import terminals and response strategies for emergencies and hazards. The website on the forums states they are designed to "provide the public with the factual information that forms the basis for informed decision-making."
"Panel discussions, presentations, and questions pertaining to the siting of specific LNG projects are beyond the scope of these forums and will not be addressed," the federal agency said. Three LNG import terminals have been proposed in and around Boston Harbor. At least 13 LNG import terminals have been proposed for the northeastern United States.
John Grasser, spokesman for the DOE's Office of Fossil Energy, said there will be three or more LNG forums located near where new LNG import terminals are being planned, but the DOE has not yet selected additional locations for the meetings.
Joining DOE and the other federal agencies at the forums will be coastal state governors and professional groups representing regulatory and safety officials.
The Boston forum will be open to the public. Registration will be available through the Internet or at the Hynes Center on the day of the forum beginning at 8 a.m. The public may submit questions and comments via the Internet, on cards to be provided at the event, or in written form by mail to: LNG Forums, Attn: Bob Corbin, 955 L'Enfant Plaza North SW, Suite 1500, Washington, DC 20024. Electronic registration, printed forms and additional details on the forums are available at: http://www.fe.doe.gov/programs/oilgas/storage/lng/lng_forums.html.
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