In closed session, the California Public Utilities Commission Thursday decided it will appeal FERC’s decision asserting “exclusive jurisdiction” over the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal planned for the Port of Long Beach, CA, by Mitsubishi’s U. S.-based subsidiary, Sound Energy Solutions (SES). On a related issue, it was unclear if the CPUC had denied a request for rehearing by SES of the state commission’s order that it submit to state regulation as a “utility” under California law.
“We will be filing a petition for review with the U. S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in the near future regarding the LNG matter,” said the CPUC’s chief spokesperson, Terrie Prosper, late Thursday after a CPUC business meeting that lasted all day.
The state regulatory commission has 60 days from the June 9 decision to seek an appeal in the federal district court. In the earlier order, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied for a second time the state regulators’ bid to claim sole jurisdiction over the LNG project that SES is planning, which includes a two-mile pipeline to send gasified supplies from the LNG terminal to Southern California Gas Co.’s backbone transmission pipeline system. In an exchange with CPUC President Michael R. Peevey recently, FERC Commissioner Joseph Kelliher said “the stakes in this jurisdictional dispute are high. If the CPUC were to prevail in its challenge, I believe LNG development would be severely retarded, not only in California but also in the rest of the nation. The biggest losers may well be California consumers, who would end up paying high prices for natural gas (see Daily GPI, June 29).
At the same session Thursday, the CPUC unanimously voted to oppose Congressional legislation that would place jurisdiction over LNG terminals solely in the hands of FERC, a concept the five CPUC commissioners, who rarely agree on anything, all scoffed at. The bill is sponsored by U. S. Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), who at least one of the CPUC commissioners sarcastically suggested might want to promote LNG terminals in (land-locked) Nebraska.
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