US Senate rejects LNG siting amendment, passes OPEC measure

Nick Snow
Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON, DC, June 20 -- The US Senate rejected a proposal to give governors a final word in siting onshore LNG terminals but approved a measure authorizing the Department of Justice to prosecute members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries for violating US antitrust laws.

The proposals were offered June 19 as amendments to the Democratic leadership's energy legislative package that came to the floor last week. Of the two, the LNG terminal siting amendment proposed by Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) was more significant because it was the first effort to modify procedures established in the 2005 Energy Policy Act (EPACT). It failed by 53 to 37 votes.

The second amendment, so-called NOPEC (No Oil-Producing and Exporting Cartels), which passed by 73 to 20 votes, was similar to one the Senate passed in 2006 which did not survive in conference with the US House. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), who sponsored the 2007 version, requested a roll call vote that he hoped would increase its stature. The House passed a similar bill by 345 to 72 votes on May 22, Cardin said.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee leaders opposed both proposals. Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Chief Minority Member Pete V. Domenici (R-NM) said the LNG terminal siting plan would undermine EPACT and the NOPEC measure would violate the sovereign immunity principle and create other problems.

Cardin's proposal reflected concerns in Maryland and some other states that local and state officials don't have enough say in choosing where LNG terminals will be located. "This amendment is not about stopping LNG plants, but making sure they're located in the right places," he said.

Area of review
Cardin argued that the proposal would not affect the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's authorization under EPACT to site onshore LNG terminals. He said his proposal would amend Section 10 of the much-older Rivers and Harbors Act by adding a requirement for the Army Corps of Engineers to secure the approval of an affected state's governor before issuing permits to construct an LNG terminal.

"When we're talking about siting an LNG terminal, those who are the most affected—the state and the nearby communities—should have the most say," said Maryland's other senator, Democrat Barbara Mikulski.

Mikulski and Cardin said local concerns are being ignored as FERC considers a proposal for an LNG terminal at Sparrows Point, near Baltimore. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said his constituents are worried about the possible impact of a proposed LNG terminal in Fall River, Mass., on Narragansett Bay's recreation and environment.

Bingaman and Domenici maintained that giving a state's governor authority to veto any aspect of the LNG terminal permitting process would create delays as the US begins to compete more aggressively for overseas gas supplies. EPACT's provisions involve states and local communities during the National Environmental Policy Act review, when they can make their concerns known, Bingaman said.

He and Domenici also suggested that while supporting Kohl's NOPEC amendment probably would seem popular with voters back home who are frustrated over higher oil and gasoline prices, the measure simply was an empty gesture that lacks any legal foundation but could create serious problems.

Kohl, who chairs the Judiciary Committee's Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights Subcommittee, disagreed. He said the sovereign immunity doctrine makes an exception for commercial enterprises, and that there has not been any retaliation in other cases where DOJ has prosecuted cases against other foreign cartels.

Contact Nick Snow at nsnow@cox.net.

Related Articles

CEQ should withdraw federal agency GHG guidance, CLNG recommends

03/27/2015 A seventh US natural gas group joined six others in calling for the White House Council on Environmental Quality to withdraw revised guidance it is...

Delayed West Ells SAGD project to start up this summer

03/27/2015 Full first steam from the West Ells thermal oil sands project in the Athabasca region of Alberta is slated to commence in late June, with productio...

NPC report outlines prime Arctic oil and gas research needs

03/27/2015 Most of the US Arctic’s offshore potential conventional oil and gas can be developed using existing field-proven technology, a new National Petrole...

Wyoming seeks judicial review of BLM’s new fracing regulations

03/27/2015 Wyoming’s government sued in response to the US Bureau of Land Management’s final rule covering hydraulic fracturing on onshore public and Indian t...

Chevron to sell Caltex Australia interest

03/27/2015 Chevron Global Energy Inc. has entered an underwriting agreement for the sale of its 50% interest in Caltex Australia Ltd. to what it described as ...

Riggs named Clayton Williams Energy president

03/27/2015 Mel G. Riggs has been named president of Clayton Williams Energy Inc., Midland, succeeding Clayton W. Williams Jr., who remains chairman and chief ...

Deck named senior VP of EnLink Midstream

03/27/2015

Andrew A. Deck has been appointed senior vice-president of the Permian basin of EnLink Midstream, Dallas.

NZOG goes for jugular on Cue takeover

03/27/2015

New Zealand Oil and Gas Ltd. has issued a tough fifth supplement to its hostile takeover attempt on Cue Energy Resources Ltd.

MARKET WATCH: Crude prices surge again amid tensions in Yemen

03/27/2015 Crude oil prices in New York and London jumped again on Mar. 26 after Saudi Arabia and its allies launched airstrikes in Yemen to neutralize Irania...
White Papers

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...

Accurate Thermo-Fluid Simulation in Real Time Environments

The crux of any task undertaken in System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis is striking a balance between ti...

6 ways for Energy, Chemical and Oil and Gas Companies to Avert the Impending Workforce Crisis

As many as half of the skilled workers in energy, chemical and oil & gas industries are quickly he...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

On Demand

Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


US Midstream at a Crossroads

Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Mar. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on US midstream companies at an inflection point in their development in response to more than 6 years shale oil and gas production growth. Major infrastructure—gas plants, gathering systems, and takeaway pipelines—have been built. Major fractionation hubs have expanded. Given the radically changed pricing environment since mid-2014, where do processors go from here? What is the fate of large projects caught in mid-development? How to producers and processors cooperate to ensure a sustainable and profitable future? This event will serve to set the discussion table for the annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Apr. 13-16, 2015.

This event is sponsored by Leidos Engineering.

register:WEBCAST


The Future of US Refining

Fri, Feb 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Feb. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on the future of US refining as various forces this year conspire to pull the industry in different directions. Lower oil prices generally reduce feedstock costs, but they have also lowered refiners’ returns, as 2015 begins with refined products priced at lows not seen in years. If lower per-barrel crude prices dampen production of lighter crudes among shale plays, what will happen to refiners’ plans to export more barrels of lighter crudes? And as always, refiners will be affected by government regulations, particularly those that suppress demand, increase costs, or limit access to markets or supply.

register:WEBCAST


Oil & Gas Journal’s Forecast & Review/Worldwide Pipeline Construction 2015

Fri, Jan 30, 2015

The  Forecast & Review/Worldwide Pipeline Construction 2015 Webcast will address Oil & Gas Journal’s outlooks for the oil market and pipeline construction in a year of turbulence. Based on two annual special reports, the webcast will be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and OGJ Managing Editor-Technology Chris Smith.
The Forecast & Review portion of the webcast will identify forces underlying the collapse in crude oil prices and assess prospects for changes essential to recovery—all in the context of geopolitical pressures buffeting the market.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected