UPDATED: Landry, Landrieu Team Up To Push Fed Bureaucrats For Approval Of LG Terminal

from a press release this afternoon…

Fighting for jobs in Southwest Louisiana and across America, Congressman Jeff Landry (R, LA-03) joined Senator Mary Landrieu (D, LA) in sending a letter today to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) calling for their prompt approval of the permitting for the Sabine Pass LNG facility. The letter outlines the timeline of the Sabine Pass expansion and highlights the economic impact the completed project will make.

“This project is vital to Louisiana, representing 150 permanent jobs, 3,000 peak construction jobs over a span of several years, and $1 billion in construction labor. Nationally, allowing for LNG export at Sabine Pass is important to natural gas development, creating or sustaining 30,000 to 50,000 jobs in producing areas, particularly in our home state of Louisiana.  This improved infrastructure also will support upwards of $6 billion in new investment,” wrote Landry and Landrieu.

Landry, a former small business owner in the oil and gas industry, recognizes the project’s importance not only to Southwest Louisiana but also the rest of the country. “South Louisiana is the lifeblood to America’s economy; the Sabine Pass expansion project is critical for creating jobs Southwest Louisiana and providing affordable energy to America. It is crucial the FERC finish the permitting process for the expansion in a timely manner so we can put our families and neighbors to work,” said Landry.

The full text of Congressman Landry and Senator Landrieu’s letter is below:

September 27, 2011

Chairman Jon Wellinghoff
Commissioner Philip D. Moeller
Commissioner Marc Spitzer
Commissioner John R. Norris
Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20426

Dear Chairman Wellinghoff, Commissioner Moeller, Commissioner Spitzer, Commissioner Norris, and Commissioner LaFleur:

Thank you for your continued regulatory work to ensure a reliable, efficient, and sustainable energy infrastructure.  We write today to share our interest in a timely conclusion to the permitting process already significantly completed for the proposed expansion of the Sabine Pass LNG facility in Southwest Louisiana.  More specifically, it is vitally important that the Environmental Assessment (EA) being developed for this project be completed and published by the end of September.

As you are aware, on January 31, 2011, Sabine Pass Liquefaction, filed an application for authorization under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act for approval to construct liquefaction facilities on the Sabine Pass LNG import terminal property currently operating in Cameron Parish, Louisiana.  The location had been previously reviewed by the FERC. Including the pre-filing process, the applicant has been working with FERC since August, 2010 –  for more than a year.

In May of this year, the Department of Energy conditionally granted long-term authorization to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Sabine Pass terminal. FERC already is familiar with the Sabine Pass site, and the terminal has been reviewed with an Environmental Impact Statement on two previous occasions.   Subsequent FERC authorization would clear the way for construction to begin as planned in January of 2012.

This project is vital to Louisiana, representing 150 permanent jobs, 3,000 peak construction jobs over a span of several years, and $1 billion in construction labor. Nationally, allowing for LNG export at Sabine Pass is important to natural gas development, creating or sustaining 30,000 to 50,000 jobs in producing areas, particularly in our home state of Louisiana.  This improved infrastructure also will support upwards of $6 billion in new investment.

Finally, FERC authorization is critical to our allies and trading partners that continue to state the importance of LNG exports. Akinobu Yoshikawa, Deputy Manager for Japan’s Petroleum and Natural Gas Division, stressed that Japan can not buy LNG until plant owners are given full regulatory approval to export, and stated that “the impact for our imports will be big,” in reference to the Sabine Pass facility identified herein.   Securing new markets for the abundant natural gas supplies coming online in the United States can support both domestic and modest international market demand in a sustainable, job-enhancing, approach.

It is our understanding that to date the project has completed a NEPA prefiling which culminated in the application submission on January 31, 2011, the scoping period that closed on November 29, 2010 and an open house public forum on September 16, 2010.  Additionally, the Title V Air permit included a public comment period which ended on August 15, 2011 and a public hearing on August 11, 2011.  These venues have provided full opportunity for community and stakeholder input. With the relevant public comment periods concluded, it is critically important for this community to be able to move forward with a clear and timely resolution of the environmental process.

It is our sincere hope that the environmental assessment process already well underway can be finalized and ready for the Commission’s consideration for either the planned October or November Commission meetings in order to allow construction to move forward in 2012.   The publication of the EA by September 30 is the first step to attain that goal.  All of the community stakeholders would benefit from timely processing, and we believe that all parties have had adequate time and opportunity to participate in the dialogue on this project to date.   As President Obama continues to call for businesses to create jobs, FERC approval is the one remaining significant regulatory step needed to move forward and allow supplier and construction jobs in begin in our state in early 2012.

Thank you for your consideration and for your continued work towards a safe and reliable energy infrastructure. We look forward to working with you to facilitate a timely process for this project authorization.

UPDATE: Not to be outdone, Rep. Charles Boustany is also pushing hard for an expedited permitting of the terminal…

U.S. Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr., MD (R-South Louisiana) today urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to promptly complete the approval process for the planned expansion of the Sabine Pass Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal in Cameron Parish.  Cheniere Energy, Inc. and their subsidiary Sabine Pass Liquefaction, LLC, received final approval in May from the Department of Energy to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) and create jobs in the United States. The process requires approval from the FERC before construction can begin.

“This development is critical for Southwest Louisiana’s economy, and gives the United States a boost on the global energy stage,” Boustany said.  “With so much uncertainty from Washington and no clear energy strategy for this country, I urge the Administration to move forward on this important project.  Further delays will slow job growth in Louisiana.  The United States has an abundance of natural resources to be utilized in both foreign and domestic markets.”

In a letter to FERC officials, Boustany urged the FERC to complete its environmental assessment quickly, calling the approval “the one remaining significant regulatory step needed.”

“We are grateful for the continued interest and support of the Louisiana congressional delegation,” said Charif Souki, Chairman and CEO of Cheniere Energy, Inc.  “Senator Landrieu and Congressman Boustany have been long time champions of this project in Southwest Louisiana, and we are grateful for their continued leadership.   We are thankful for the broad support we have had at the parish, state, and federal level.”

Boustany is the leading voice in Washington for domestic energy production along the Gulf Coast.  “This project is an example of American competitiveness, which bolsters our standing in the world and pays dividends for Southwest Louisiana,” Boustany said.

Reps. Bill Cassidy, Cedric Richmond, Steve Scalise, Rodney Alexander and John Fleming and Sen David Vitter also signed the letter.

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