The Delaware River Basin Commission has unanimously agreed to reconsider its approval of a second dock for liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports at a proposed export terminal in New Jersey along the Delaware River.
The decision last week comes after the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) filed a request for rehearing of a decision earlier this summer to approve an expansion of the project. New Fortress Energy LLC affiliate Delaware River Partners LLC wants to build a small-scale terminal to export LNG and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
DRN has worked in recent months to reveal information about the facility from various federal and state agencies that it said wasn’t properly shared with the public. The organization and other environmental groups contend that the company failed to share its plans for LNG at the proposed facility in Gloucester County, which would be called the Gibbstown Logistics Center. DRBC’s initial approval of the project included only plans for LPG export from one dock.
The DRBC has said, however, that it has jurisdiction only for dock construction and river dredging, not cargo. The environmental groups are primarily concerned about plans to move LNG in and out of the facility. Several other approvals are pending for the project that are also being targeted by the groups in their efforts to stop the facility from moving forward.
The company would need a special permit to transport LNG by rail to the site using tank cars designed to carry cryogenic liquids. While LNG can move by truck and water in the U.S., rail has not yet been used to move the fuel. Such shipments are authorized in Canada.
A New Fortress affiliate, Energy Transport Solutions LLC, has filed for a special permit. It is the only application pending in the country to move LNG by rail, according to a spokesman for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. A rulemaking has been underway since last year at the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop a framework to transport the fuel by rail. Earlier this year, President Trump issued an executive order to speed up the process.
A rulemaking is also underway at the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop a framework to transport the fuel by rail after President Trump ordered it earlier this year.
In addition to the DRBC proceedings, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers still needs to approve the facility, along with FERC. The project is also waiting on key permits from the state.
The Army Corps reopened a public comment period on the project’s Section 404 Clean Water Act permit in July at the request of the DRN, which has since closed. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of General Counsel also ruled in favor of the organization’s challenge to the Commission’s denial of a Freedom of Information Act request for documents about the project.
Maya van Rossum, who leads DRN, said FERC has since provided some information, but it has indicated that it needs more time to fulfill the rest of the request.
New Fortress, which is focused on introducing LNG in markets that lack access to the fuel, has released few details about the project in New Jersey. In its request for a waterway suitability assessment from the U.S. Coast Guard filed in 2017, Delaware River Partners highlighted plans for a multi-use, deep-water port and logistics center for a variety of uses, including the handling of automobiles, other bulk freight, LNG and LPG. The company told the Coast Guard that the terminal would have an LNG export capacity of 1.5 million metric tonnes/year and an LPG export capacity of 9.6 million bbl/year.
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