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CPUC Weighs in on LNG, Lauds FERC's Wood

As part of its biweekly business meeting last Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) passed a resolution urging Congress to adopt liquefied natural gas (LNG) regulatory/safety standards that allow states concurrent jurisdiction with FERC, and specifically to express the CPUC's opposition to the establishment of an "exclusive" federal jurisdiction.

The action was aimed at the current activity in Congress on LNG provisions of a new national energy act. "We want to let them [Congress] know that the CPUC supports concurrent jurisdiction, but would oppose any specific or exclusive jurisdiction residing with FERC," said the CPUC's legislative director.

The CPUC has a pending federal court challenge to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's assertion of exclusive jurisdiction regarding a proposed LNG receiving terminal in Long Beach, CA.

"I understand that Sen. [Dianne] Feinstein (D-CA) is putting in a bill to do this assurance of state involvement," said CPUC President Michael Peevey.

In separate remarks, Geoffrey Brown, the CPUC's senior member in terms of years of service, went out of his way to laud outgoing FERC Chairman Patrick Wood, who announced last week that he will be leaving FERC when his term expires in June (see related story).

"I am sorry to hear that Pat Wood is leaving; I think he did an awful lot to improve FERC's relationship with our state," Brown said. "We might have disagreed with him on particular issues, but he really reached out. Considering where FERC was before he got there, I think the organization improved its market surveillance and it improved its relationships with other governmental agencies. Pat will be missed."

Peevey added that he agreed with his colleague.

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