Less than three weeks after FERC staff determined that Dominion's proposal to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from a facility in Maryland posed no major threat to the environment -- and two days before a powerful member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources urged regulators to issue Dominion an export license -- the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has asked the Commission for a 30-day extension to complete its review of the Cove Point Liquefaction project.And if they can't find enough negative reviewers in the first 30 days, they can always ask for another extension. Who's going to stop them and insist they do their job on time and within budget, Gina McCarthy? President Obama? I doubt it.
"EPA requests that this additional time be granted due to the nature and complexity of this project," the agency said in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) dated June 3 and released on FERC's website Monday. "The additional time will allow the agency to compile comments from its regional associate internal reviewers (our standard practices) and the required need for EPA headquarters' review."
Just coincidentally, (or not, Tom Steyer has a lot of anti-fracking money to spread around), the Washington Post has an anti-natural gas export article at the back of the A-section today, which was, they admit, abstracted from this Wonkblog blog post: Exporting U.S. natural gas isn’t as “clean” as you think
One of the rallying cries in favor of liquefying and exporting U.S. natural gas has been to help reduce greenhouse gases in other countries, by crowding out coal in Asia and Europe.Modest benefits are still benefits.
Yet tucked into an Energy Department report on LNG exports is a different view: That U.S. exports of LNG to China could end up being worse from a greenhouse gas perspective than if China simply built a new power plant and burned its own coal supplies. The report also says that the climate benefits of exporting LNG to other countries are modest.
The report is titled “Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Perspective on Exporting Liquefied Natural Gas from the United States.” It says the benefits of cleaner, more efficient combustion of natural gas are largely offset by methane leakage in U.S. production and pipelines and by methane leaks and energy used in the process of liquefying and transporting the LNG. In the case of shipping LNG from the U.S. gulf coast to Shanghai, the greenhouse gas benefits could in some cases be completely offset by those factors when measured over a 20-year period, the report says.Of course, it's very unlikely that natural gas from Cove Point would be shipped to China, so we have do something to attack other exports.
James McGarry, who works with Tidwell at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, says that the Energy Department report also underestimates leakage in importing countries by assuming delivery to a power plant near LNG import facilities. He notes that India, a customer of the Cove Point terminal, uses only 44 percent of its natural gas for power generation and uses 25 percent for its fertilizer industry, creating new chances for leakage.Do you have a clue now? India is using imported natural gas to produce nitrogen fertilizer for growing crops, crops necessary for the survival of a billion
It isn't that they love the environment so much, it's just that they hate people.