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Statement: September 18, 2008 Print this page
Docket Nos: CP06-365-000, CP06-366-000, CP06-376-000 and CP06-377-000

Chairman Joseph T. Kelliher's statement on Bradwood Landing LNG Project

“Today the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authorizes the Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas (LNG) import project in Oregon. We do so because we find the project, as conditioned by the agency, meets our high safety standards and will have only a limited adverse environmental impact. We also certificate the related pipeline facilities.

In our review of proposed LNG import projects, FERC focuses principally on safety, environmental and engineering considerations. The order includes 109 conditions to assure safety and mitigate environmental impact, such as the requirements for finalization of the Emergency Response Plan, construction of the terminal in compliance with the Commission's seismic design guidelines and the installation of a screened water intake system to reduce impacts on sensitive fish species in the Columbia River.

We also find the project is needed to meet rising energy demand in the Pacific Northwest. Our need finding is consistent with longstanding FERC policy under the Natural Gas Act. It is also consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, which requires only that an agency make a brief description of the project's underlying purpose and need in its environmental analysis and we have done that here. The purpose of that statement is to define the range of plausible alternatives to the proposal and our final Environmental Impact Statement addresses a number of such alternatives.

I believe subordinating need to safety considerations is sound public policy. To do otherwise might compromise the integrity of our safety review, and lead us to approve projects that are badly needed, notwithstanding the existence of legitimate safety concerns. That is not how FERC reviews proposed LNG import projects, as demonstrated by our decision to reject the Keyspan project in Providence, Rhode Island, where we rejected a project that failed to meet our safety standards, despite the clear need for increased natural gas supplies in New England. FERC applies high safety standards, and if a proposed project fails to meet those standards, we aggressively use our conditioning authority to make sure those standards are met.

There has been no rush to judgment in our review of this project. Originally, the project developer asked the Commission to act by April 2007. We allowed ample opportunity for public comment, and established a longer comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement than other LNG import projects, 120 days instead of the usual 45 days. Our record for our decision is substantial, exceeding over 50,000 pages.

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