Rendering of Venture Global’s Plaquemines LNG export terminal in Plaquemines Parish, about 20 miles south of New Orleans. RENDERING PROVIDED BY VENTURE GLOBAL LNG

Yesterday I posted an article on Southwest Louisiana LNG plants causing an industrial wasteland. What will be different here?

A liquefied natural gas export terminal under construction in Plaquemines Parish has received a preliminary environmental greenlight to proceed with a planned output expansion. Staffers for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency that regulates U.S. energy projects, have released an environmental assessment that weighed the pros and cons of allowing Plaquemines LNG to push its annual output from 24 million metric tons to 27.2 million. FERC had already approved the facility’s construction, which began in August 2021. Last year, Venture Global LNG, the terminal’s parent company, filed an application asking for FERC’s blessing to expand the terminal’s export capacity to meet market demand. “We have determined that if Plaquemines LNG operates the proposed Amendment in accordance with its application and supplements, approval of the Amendment would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,” the assessment says.

Environmental justice groups have contested the plant.

Environmental justice groups had opposed the expansion, citing concerns about the project’s potential impact on air and water quality and climate change, among other issues. The groups, including the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Sierra Club and Healthy Gulf, asked for FERC to complete another environmental impact statement, or EIS, for the project. Such a document would have been much longer and taken more time to compose than the 60-page environmental assessment released last week. FERC punted on that request, saying the expansion would not have altered the agency’s overarching findings in the 2019 EIS that approved construction. “The regulatory oversight, hazards, and engineering designs remain largely unchanged from that analyzed in the 2019 final EIS for the Plaquemines LNG Project,” FERC staffers wrote in the environmental assessment.

This is not a final decision as approval is needed but it shows direction of where the decision will go.

Though the environmental assessment does not reflect a final decision from FERC on the expansion — the full commission still needs to OK it — the document shows federal regulators appear to be willing to let it keep moving forward. FERC will take public comments on the environmental assessment until Feb. 6. The comments and assessment will then be sent to the agency’s commissioners for review. Venture Global LNG sewed up a $13.2 billion financing package for the facility in May. The terminal is expected to come online by 2024.

Will we end up with surplus of these plants?

Plaquemains LNG plant to expand output
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