Commerce Department overturns Maryland on LNG terminal decision
The U.S. Department of Commerce today issued decisions on two appeals of state objections involving the proposed construction and operation of liquefied natural gas terminals in Maryland and Massachusetts.
It overruled Maryland's objections to a proposed LNG facility at Sparrows Point.
It upheld the MassachusettsÕ objection to a proposed LNG facility at Weaver's Cove near Fall River.
The states independently objected to the projects on the grounds that the proposals were inconsistent with their federally-approved coastal management programs.
Under the Coastal Zone Management Act, federal agencies may not issue any permits required for a project if a state has objected, unless the Department of Commerce, on appeal, overrides the objection.
The decisions announced today are:
AES Sparrows Point, LLC and Mid-Atlantic Express, LLC
The Department overrode the State of MarylandÕs objection to the AES Sparrows Point, LLC and Mid-Atlantic Express, LLC proposal to construct and operate an LNG facility east of the Port of Baltimore. Based on information submitted during the appeal, the Department determined that the national interest served by the facility outweighs its limited adverse coastal effects.
The proposed project would help meet regional energy demand by providing enough natural gas capacity to heat approximately 3.5 million homes per day or to generate electricity for 7.5 million homes per day.
The impact of dredging to fish and aquatic vegetation will not be significant.
WeaverÕs Cove Energy, LLC and Mill River Pipeline, LLC
The Department upheld the Commonwealth of MassachusettsÕ objection to a WeaverÕs Cove Energy, LLC and Mill River Pipeline, LLC proposal to construct and operate an LNG facility and associated pipeline near Fall River, Mass. Based on information submitted during the appeal, the Department determined that adverse coastal effects Š particularly navigational safety concerns associated with delivering LNG to the terminal by tanker vessel up the Taunton River Š outweigh the national interest.
Navigational safety concerns were articulated in a U.S. Coast Guard report that concluded the Taunton River is unsuitable for LNG tanker traffic of the size and frequency proposed by WeaverÕs Cove.
When the Department overrides a state objection, federal agencies may proceed with normal permit and license processes for the project. The project will also be required to comply with all state and local permitting regulations, and complete all required environmental reviews.