Pipeline Safety Update – Issue No. 142
Susan A. Olenchuk & Bryn S. Karaus | The National Law Review
On September 20, at the open meeting of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), FERC’s General Counsel, James Danly, and Howard “Skip” Elliott, Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), presented the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two agencies to establish a framework for improving coordination and the exchange of information when performing the siting and safety review of FERC-jurisdictional proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities. According to Mr. Danly, the new MOU will enable the Commission to act on LNG applications more quickly, reduce the burden on applicants, and facilitate increased exports.
Mr. Danly explained that the number of applications for LNG export terminals has increased substantially in the last eight years, and FERC’s process of certifying that these projects meet federal safety standards has become increasingly complex and burdensome. Traditionally, under that process, FERC staff made a preliminary determination that the proposed LNG facility met PHMSA’s safety standards, but the process requires numerous queries to PHMSA and applicants before FERC staff has sufficient information to make its determination. According to Mr. Danly, the MOU will end this duplicative and iterative process and will allow PHMSA to make a preliminary determination on safety issues and certify it to the Commission…(Read the full story)