June 26, 2008
The Department of Commerce today issued decisions on two appeals of state objections involving the proposed construction and operation of liquefied natural gas terminals in Maryland and Massachusetts.
The states independently objected to the projects on the grounds that the proposals were inconsistent with their federally-approved coastal management programs. Under the Coastal Zone Management Act, federal agencies may not issue any permits required for a project if a state has objected, unless the Department of Commerce, on appeal, overrides the objection.
The decisions announced today are:
The Department overrode the State of Maryland’s objection to the AES Sparrows Point, LLC and Mid-Atlantic Express, LLC proposal to construct and operate an LNG facility east of the Port of Baltimore. Based on information submitted during the appeal, the Department determined that the national interest served by the facility outweighs its limited adverse coastal effects.
The Department upheld the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ objection to a Weaver’s Cove Energy, LLC and Mill River Pipeline, LLC proposal to construct and operate an LNG facility and associated pipeline near Fall River, Mass. Based on information submitted during the appeal, the Department determined that adverse coastal effects – particularly navigational safety concerns associated with delivering LNG to the terminal by tanker vessel up the Taunton River – outweigh the national interest.
When the Department overrides a state objection, federal agencies may proceed with normal permit and license processes for the project. The project will also be required to comply with all state and local permitting regulations, and complete all required environmental reviews.