The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) plans to stop conducting environmental reviews of liquefied natural gas (LNG) export and import projects beginning in early January. 

The notice was published Thursday in the Federal Register.

The decision is not expected to significantly reduce regulatory hurdles for LNG projects. They still would require extensive FERC environmental reviews for construction and operating permits, the Center for LNG’s Charlie Riedl, executive director, told NGI

The DOE has in the past used reviews conducted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to fulfill its obligations. The DOE would continue to advise the Commission under the new policy, Riedl said.

The policy change is part of a series of...