Fracking Insider Readers: We are pleased to bring you Volume 47 of our State Regulatory Roundup, including updates in Maryland, New Jersey, and Texas. As we explained in earlier volumes, we designed the Roundup to provide quick overviews on state regulatory activity. If you have any questions on any of these summaries, please do not hesitate to ask.
Maryland – The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected a petition from a coalition of environmental groups opposing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) approval of Dominion Resources Inc.’s Cove Point LNG export terminal. The court rejected the argument that FERC had violated NEPA by not considering the impacts of increased natural gas production, with Judge Judith Rogers writing for the court that the agency was not required by the law to consider the indirect effects of increased production, including climate effects. The court also found that the environmental groups had failed to show that FERC did not adequately address concerns about ballast water discharge, maritime traffic impacts on whales, and public safety impacts. Dominion plans to complete construction of the terminal in time to commence exports in June 2017. Fracking Insider has previously covered the proposed Cove Point terminal (see here and here).
New Jersey – In a draft report issued July 22, FERC staff determined that most environmental impacts from PennEast’s proposed natural gas pipeline can be reduced to “less than significant levels,” representing a major step forward in clearing the regulatory hurdles remaining for the project. The proposed 119-mile, $1 billion pipeline, which would ship gas supplies from the Marcellus shale basin to eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, has already been delayed by a year because of opposition from environmental groups. Fracking Insider has previously covered the proposed PennEast pipeline (see here).
Texas – Annova LNG, whose majority shareholder is Exelon, filed an application on July 13 with FERC to construct an LNG export terminal at the Port of Brownsville (FERC docket CP16-480). The proposed terminal joins two other LNG projects proposed for the Port: the Rio Grande LNG project (application filed May 19), and the Texas LNG project (application filed March 31). The Annova project would consist of six liquefaction trains, each with nameplate capacity of one million tons per year, when constructed. Exelon plans to decide whether to move forward with the project in the second quarter of 2018, pending FERC approval, establishment of electricity and gas supply, and securement of future customers.