Two environmental groups have protested Honolulu, HI-based The Gas Co. LLC’s (TGC) application that would clear the way for its utility to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) into Hawaii from the U.S. mainland.

Sierra Club, which has filed objections to several LNG projects pending before FERC, said it opposes TGC’s request for FERC to review only the first phase of what the company says will be a three-phase project. It asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to prepare an environmental impact statement on all phases of the proposal.

Honolulu-based Blue Planet Foundation advocates a clean energy futures for Hawaii and contends that TGC’s plan to import LNG would reverse Hawaii’s trend away from fossil fuels. “After decades of dependency, Hawaii has embarked on a major transition from the use of imported fossil fuels to the use of renewable energy for electric production.

“TGC now seeks Commission approval to import substantial quantities of liquefied natural gas — a fossil fuel — in a manner that will continue and deepen Hawaii’s dependence on imported fossil fuels,” the foundation said.

TGC, which filed an application with FERC in August, is seeking authorization to begin importing LNG from an unspecified part of the continental United States by the end of this year (see Daily GPI, Aug. 14). The company is seeking permission to proceed with Phase 1 of a three-phase project. Phase 1 of the project would include a fleet of up to 20 40-foot cryogenic intermodal containers that would be transported to Hawaii on common carrier cargo vessels. Existing facilities on the company’s premises would be used to store containers for short periods, and mobile LNG vaporization/regasification units would be used to inject gas into the company’s distribution pipeline or directly into an end-use customer’s facilities.

The company has asked FERC to issue an order approving the Phase 1 application by Nov. 7. The natural gas would be used if there is a disruption in the synthetic natural gas/propane supply chain.

Blue Planet said it opposed the TGC project for several reasons, including:

Hawaii has no naturally occurring fossil fuel resources, relying on imported petroleum to meet all of its energy needs. According to TGC’s application to the Commission, the state imported 42 million bbl of crude oil and 4 million bbl of finished petroleum products during 2011.

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