Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
June 2020

Vol. 25, No.26 Week of June 28, 2020

FERC gets Alaska LNG rehearing requests

Mat-Su Borough, Center for Biological Diversity, say FERC didn’t properly evaluate Mat-Su option, harmful environmental impacts

Kristen Nelson

Petroleum News

On May 21 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. authorization under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act to construct the Alaska LNG Project, which includes a gas-handling facility on the North Slope, an 800-mile pipeline and a liquefaction facility at Nikiski on the Kenai Peninsula.

There was a 30-day appeal period for intervenors.

FERC now has requests for rehearing from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and the Center for Biological Diversity and Earthjustice on behalf of Chickaloon Village Traditional Council, Northern Alaska Environmental Center and Sierra Club.

The Center for Biological Diversity request, with attachments, is more than 2,700 pages.

An introduction to the request calls the scale of the project unprecedented and says it is the first project of this size FERC has approved under the Natural Gas Act.

“Yet FERC approved the project without properly considering whether it is in the public interest and without properly examining its numerous harmful environmental impacts,” the request states. It asks for withdrawal of what it calls a “deficient, unlawful Order authorizing the Alaska LNG Project” and the final environmental impact statement, asks for a redo of the “environmental analysis and public interest analysis in a manner that complies with FERC’s obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act … and other statutes.”

Location argument

“The Order is based on a procedurally and substantially deficient Final Environmental Impact Statement,” the Matanuska-Susitna Borough says in its rehearing request. The FEIS “is in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act … and therefore does not provide the Commission or the public with all relevant information for the Alaska LNG project proposed in this docket.” Mat-Su says it is requesting that FERC “issue a supplemental FEIS that complies with its NEPA obligation and issue an amended Order based on the updated FEIS.”

In an initial statement of alleged errors Mat-Su says FERC “erred by defining the Project’s objectives so narrowly that only the applicant’s preferred site for the liquefaction facility could fulfill them.”

The borough says FERC “did not take a ‘hard look’ at the Port MacKenzie Alternate or any other liquefaction facility site alternative,” and also says what limited environmental analysis of the Port MacKenzie was done in the FEIS “contains substantive errors and selective data gaps.”

“FERC unreasonably and artificially defined the Project objectives so narrowly that only ADGC’s preferred alternative was viable” and “violated NEPA by failing to rigorously explore the Port MacKenzie Alternative and provide a reasoned explanation for finding it is not the preferred alternative liquefaction site.”

The request said because FERC’s order is based on a “FEIS that contains incomplete and inaccurate analysis of a viable alternative,” FERC “has not complied with its NEPA obligations and the Order is not standing upon a solid foundation.”

The borough is requesting that FERC “re-perform its comparative analysis of the Port MacKenzie Alternative, and amend the Order based on the corrected analysis.”

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