Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez has decided he needs more information to decide AES Sparrows Point’s consistency appeal under the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), and consequently has stayed the closure of the decision record until April 14.

AES Corp. in September 2007 appealed to the secretary to override Maryland’s objection to the federal consistency certification for the company’s Sparrows Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal project in Baltimore County, MD. The Maryland Department of the Environment last July denied the Arlington, VA-based developer’s request for a finding that the project is consistent with the state’s coastal management program (see Daily GPI, July 18, 2007).

The secretary can override a state’s objection if he determines that an LNG project is consistent with the objectives of the CZMA or it is necessary in the interest of national security.

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.

FERC earlier this month said it could act on the application for the controversial LNG terminal project by the end of the year. 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.

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