How They Saved Cheniere from Disaster to Dominate US LNG Exporting
Spencer Abraham, John Deutch, Vicky Bailey, Neil Bush
Five years ago, Cheniere Energy Inc. was losing tens of millions of dollars a quarter and slashing its workforce in half, as crippling debt threatened to force it into bankruptcy. Today it’s the undisputed leader in the nation’s promising new energy sector: exportin liquefied natural gas, or LNG. That remarkable turnaround followed its industry-leading decision in 2010 to reverse course and export, rather than import, natural gas.
Cheniere’s success in executing that costly and risky switch is a direct result of its ability to obtain a unique regulatory status. Federal energy regulators have awarded the company a combination of federal permits — so far withheld from all 20 competitors seeking similar treatment — that have worked like sprinkled pixie dust, attracting major customers and investors to Cheniere and giving wing to its stock. Continue reading Powerful Friends and Cozy Relationships Helped Cheniere Cut Through Regulation
Merits of Case Must Now Be Decided
A federal appeals court ruling Tuesday that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to rescind a dumping permit three years after it was granted by the Army Corps of Engineers drew cheers from environmentalists.
The decision reverses a lower court’s ruling that would have allowed Mingo Logan Coal Co. to proceed with plans for one of the nation’s largest mountaintop mines in southern West Virginia. Mingo Logan is a subsidiary of Arch Coal, the second largest producer of fossil fuel in the country.
But the case is far from over. The decision, written by Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, returns the case to District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson. When Jackson sided with Arch Coal last year, she ruled on the company’s argument that the EPA lacked authority to rescind the permit but she must now rule on its contention that the agency was “arbitrary and capricious” in its arguments. Continue reading EPA’s Victory Moves Clean Water Act Fight Back to District Court
LNG tanker at sea (Photo courtesy of FERC)
The Obama Administration is blocking a comprehensive environmental study on the impact of exporting massive quantities of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, on the grounds that new gas drilling induced by the exports is not “reasonably foreseeable.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Energy is resisting calls by Dow Chemical and other manufacturers for a more clearly defined and transparent DOE process for determining whether proposed LNG export projects serve the “public interest.”
Both the DOE and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission face mounting pressure to evaluate the economic and environmental consequences of licensing LNG export facilities. Since the agencies licensed an LNG export terminal in Sabine Pass, La., in 2011, 19 other applicants have lined up with licensing requests. Continue reading Obama Administration Says No to Full Environmental Study of LNG Exports