Conor O’Sullivan | Breaking Energy
The DOE will act on LNG export applications involving non-FTA countries only after completing the National Environmental Policy Act review and halt its practice of issuing conditional authorizations.
On August 15, 2014, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy published final revised procedures for liquefied natural gas (LNG) export decisions involving non-Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries. Pursuant to the revised procedures, DOE will act on applications to export LNG from the lower-48 states to non-FTA countries only after completing the review required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), suspending its practice of issuing conditional decisions prior to final authorization.
DOE has acted on non-FTA LNG export applications in order of precedence since December 5, 2012. Its conditional authorizations intended to provide regulatory certainty before significant resources are spent for the NEPA review. The procedural change aims to improve the quality of information on which DOE bases its final decisions. It will require DOE to act on applications in the order they become ready for final action and not in the published order of precedence. An application becomes ready for final action upon completion of the pertinent NEPA review and availability of sufficient information to base a public interest determination.
The revised procedures will ensure that applications that have completed NEPA review are not subject to undue delays by their position in the current order of precedence. DOE explained that applicants are increasingly willing to commit resources for the NEPA review process without conditional authorizations. Additionally, suspending the practice of issuing conditional decisions would reduce the likelihood of being forced to act on applications with little prospect, thereby facilitating better allocation of DOE resources.
According to the DOE, the revised procedures will not affect the continued validity of already-issued conditional authorizations. For those applications, DOE will reconsider its conditional orders based on information gathered in the NEPA review process and take appropriate final action.
Originally published by EnerKnol.
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