The administration has been asked to pull the permit for an offshore LNG terminal here.
Ahead of a Wednesday deadline, nearly two dozen environmental and grassroots groups are calling on the Biden administration to deny a federal license for a proposed offshore liquefied natural gas port near Plaquemines Parish that has languished in development for years. The coalition sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation and its Maritime Administration, or MARAD, asking for the deepwater port license rejection for West Delta LNG. The letter was also sent to the Office of Deepwater Port Licensing and Port Conveyance. The letter claims LNG 21, the Houston firm behind the West Delta LNG port, has failed to meet several deadlines to submit additional information to MARAD and the U.S. Coast Guard about the project’s technical specifics. Federal regulatory agencies routinely ask permit applicants for more information to complete environmental reviews before approving projects. If approved and built, West Delta LNG would pump out roughly 6 million metric tons pear year of LNG. It would be located about 12 miles from the Plaquemines Parish coast.nola.com
The initial application was in Aug 2019 with multiple extensions.
According to the letter and documents filed with MARAD, LNG 21 first applied for the deepwater port license in August 2019. Since then, MARAD and the Coast Guard have given the firm multiple extensions to submit an amended license application. The coalition letter calls for regulators to stop granting extensions and deny the deepwater license. It says West Delta LNG’s approval process has exceeded the standard 330-day timeline by more than 900 days. “While the undersigned organizations understand that the regulatory timeline can be suspended before the application is approved or denied when the applicant fails to provide requested information, the administrative suspension of the process cannot supplant statutory deadlines and has now far exceeded what may be considered reasonable,” the letter says. Twenty-two organizations signed the letter, including Healthy Gulf, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, RISE St. James and Sierra Club, among others. In announcing their letter, the environmental groups bemoaned the port’s potential to emit more than 1 million tons of greenhouse gases annually, as well as 1,619 tons of other common air pollutants. “By its own rules, the Biden administration is overdue to deny this massively polluting project in the Gulf,” Lauren Parker, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, said in a statement. “For more than three years, West Delta LNG has failed to provide the necessary information for environmental review. Our planet is smoldering, and the government shouldn’t be bending the rules for the oil and gas companies fanning the flames.”
West Delta sis not respond but the reasons for the delays in the governments hand.
West Delta LNG officials did not respond to a request for comment Monday. However, documents filed with MARAD and the Coast Guard shed more light on the reasoning behind the extensions. Three months after the August 2019 application, MARAD and the Coast Guard asked LNG 21 for more info about West Delta LNG, including a litany of engineering and technical aspects about construction, according to a November 2019 letter from the Coast Guard. Regulators gave LNG 21 about a month to provide the info. After failing to hear from the firm, regulators “stopped the clock” on the application timeline to give the company more time to submit the details. A month later, LNG 21 told regulators that “ongoing landowner negotiations” had stalled the firm’s work on its updated application, according to a February 2020 letter from MARAD granting a 60-day extension. In May 2020, the LNG company requested another 90 days because it had changed the project’s design, including pipeline routes. That extension was approved, as was another extension in September 2020. By March 2021, LNG 21 officials told regulators they would submit the updated application “in the summer of 2021,” according to a Coast Guard letter from May 2021. Federal officials wanted an updated application by December of that year. By the end of that summer, LNG 21 said it was having trouble “gathering information necessary to move the project forward” because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, regulators granted a six-month extension. In May of last year, LNG 21 informed regulators of their decision to shift the port’s supply pipeline routes “to another major pipeline,” according to a June 2022 letter from MARAD to the LNG company. The firm was also exploring whether it should shift from “working with potential Asian customers to examining European markets,” a reference to changing demand for natural gas spurred by Russia’s war in Ukraine. The June 2022 letter outlined the Wednesday deadline.
It sounds like the company is not set on the project and it is doing it on the run and getting extensions to to that.