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Long Beach LNG Terminal Draft EIR Hearings Draw Local Reactions

An opening hearing Monday at city hall in Long Beach, CA on a joint draft environmental impact report (EIR) on Sound Energy Solutions proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal in the Port of Long Beach drew a crowd of about 150 people, 35 of whom spoke, and the split was about even between those favoring and opposing the plans for the terminal.

The $700 million project would be built at a former U. S. Naval installation in the Long Beach Harbor by subsidiaries of Mitsubishi Corp. and ConocoPhillips. It would deliver 1 Bcf/d to the California gas market. Written comments on the EIR are due to the Port by Dec. 8. Two more public hearings will be held in other parts of the city on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 before a four- to six-month process of finalizing the EIR, according to a Port official.

All of the comments must be taken into account and responded to in the final document prepared jointly by the Port and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The earliest a final determination could be made by FERC and the various state agencies would be late next year, a Port official said, noting that the final element before starting to develop the project would be completion of a lease between the Port and Sound Energy Solutions.

In releasing the 700-page draft EIR last month, both the Port and FERC made copies available on their web sites. The draft report recommends conditional approval of the proposed terminal in the harbor site, which would be the first coastal LNG receiving terminal in California and along the U.S. West Coast (see NGI, Oct. 17). San Diego-based Sempra Energy has a LNG receiving terminal under construction along the Pacific Coast of North Baja in Mexico at Costa Azul.

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