FERC could act on the application for AES Corp.'s controversial liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal project in Baltimore County, MD, by the end of the year, it said last Thursday.

According to the agency's notice of schedule, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission plans to issue a draft environmental impact statement by April 11, a final environmental impact statement by Aug. 15, and a final decision on the company's application by Nov. 20. The AES application has been pending at the Commission since January 2007.

But even if FERC approves the project, AES still has to deal with Maryland. The Maryland congressional delegation, state and local officials have launched an all-out offensive against the project, saying it would damage the environment.

Last July the Maryland Department of the Environment denied the Arlington, VA-based developer's request for a finding that the project is consistent with the state's Coastal Zone Management Program (see NGI, July 23, 2007). AES has appealed to the U.S. secretary of commerce to override Maryland's objection to the federal consistency certification for the proposed terminal (see NGI, Sept. 17, 2007).

Baltimore County also has banned the construction of LNG facilities in the county's environmentally sensitive Chesapeake Bay Critical Areas, a prohibition that was upheld by a U.S. District judge in Baltimore in June 2007 (see NGI, July 2, 2007).

The Sparrows Point project, if constructed, would have about 1.5 Bcf/d of regasification capacity with a potential for expansion to 2.25 Bcf/d. Regasified LNG would be delivered to regional markets via the Mid-Atlantic Express pipeline, an 87-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline that would extend from the terminal to connections with interstate pipelines at Eagle, PA.

The project, including three LNG storage tanks, would be located on 80 acres within the existing Sparrows Point Industrial Complex in Baltimore County. The site was previously owned by Bethlehem Steel and housed a steel manufacturing and shipbuilding facility.

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