Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Will Obama's Acting FERC Chair Kill Liquefied Natural Gas?

President Barack Obama’s pick for acting chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Jon Wellinghoff, cast the lone dissenting vote in this month’s 4-1 decision to conditionally approve the liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant proposed by Virginia-based AES Corporation at the former Bethlehem Steel shipyard just outside of Baltimore city. AAEA is neutral on the project, but is working with Turner Station, a nearby African American community, to get relief from being surrounded by industrial facilities that expose this area to a disproportionate amount of pollution.

Opponents of a liquefied natural gas terminal proposed for Sparrows Point may have gotten the help they were looking for from appointment of Wellinghoff. The LNG Opposition Team has informed FERC that it would be filing for a rehearing of the case. Any intervener to the proceeding can request a rehearing. Wellinghoff, who also opposed approving an LNG project in Oregon in September, wrote in his dissenting opinion of the Sparrows Point project that building the terminal would not be in the public interest and is not essential to meet the region’s energy needs, which he believes would be better served by alternative energy. (The Daily Record, 1/26/09)

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