On its concluding day of this year’s legislative session, a committee in the California lower house Assembly Thursday killed a proposal to require the California Energy Commission (CEC) to review and rank four existing proposals for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal along the state’s coast. Proponents wanted the legislation to counteract the federal permitting preemption established in last year’s federal Energy Policy Act (EPAct).
The bill (SB 426) was resurrected from last year because two proposed offshore projects in Southern California have been stalled in the federal permitting process, but the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee rejected the measure on a 6-2 vote at what the news media described as a hastily called committee session Thursday.
Among the representatives testifying against SB 426 was BHP Billiton, the Australian resources giant that has the proposed the floating Cabrillo Port, and Clearwater Port LNG offshore terminal slated for a converted oil platform — now idle — off the coast from Oxnard, CA, which is about 60 miles west of Los Angeles. Clearwater Port’s project manager contended its proposed terminal is already going through what he characterized as “the most rigorous environmental and safety reviews in the world.”
Environmental groups supported the legislation. The Assembly committee hearing was called without advance notice, supporters of the measure noted, and was held in a small room just off the Assembly chambers, lasting less than a half-hour.
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