Federal regulators on Tuesday approved additional liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from the Gulf Coast, granting Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI) authorization to site, construct and operate the proposed Gulf LNG project.
FERC approved the Mississippi export project in a 3-1 vote, with Commissioner Richard Glick, a Democrat, dissenting from the order because he said it violates both the Natural Gas Act (NGA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
“The Commission is again refusing to consider the consequences its actions have for climate change,” Glick said. “Neither the NGA nor NEPA permit the Commission to assume away the climate change implications of constructing and operating this LNG facility. Yet that is the unmistakable result of today’s order.”
Outgoing Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, also a Democrat, voted to approve the project after the Commission disclosed the direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the Gulf LNG Liquefaction Project, providing comparisons to the national GHG emissions inventory.
“In prior concurrences, I noted my concerns about the Commission’s failure to assess the significance of the GHG emissions,” LaFleur said. “I continue to have the same concerns in this case and believe that the Commission could develop a framework for assessing significance, if it chose to do so. I expect that the court will continue to require the Commission to expand its climate analysis.”
In its order, the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission said the Gulf LNG Liquefaction Project should be constructed and made available for service within five years of the date of the order.
The project calls for expanding KMI facilities in Jackson County, which would include two liquefaction trains, each with a capacity of 5 million metric tons/year (mmty) and maximum capacity of more than 5.4 mmty. It also proposes modifying the existing Gulf LNG Pipeline to provide bidirectional flow.
The project received a favorable final environmental impact statement from FERC in April.
KMI is also developing the Elba Island liquefaction project near Savannah, GA. The first of 10 production units at that facility was due to enter service in May, but it remains in the commissioning phase. Management is expected to provide an update on its operations during a conference call to discuss second quarter earnings scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.