U.S. regulators on March 24 delayed requirements to consider greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions before approvals of gas projects, after lawmakers complained the policy would harm the industry just when European allies need gas due to the crisis in Ukraine.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Richard Glick said that two guidelines the panel approved last month to consider GHG, environmental justice and landowner issues before approving LNG terminals and other gas projects would now be considered “drafts.”
Under the new designation, the draft guidelines on projects will not apply to pending projects until FERC issues any final guidance, the panel said. Comments on the guidelines will be due by April 25, with reply comments due on May 25.
Glick, a Democrat, has long said the requirements would add legal certainty to natural gas projects as it would allow FERC to do thorough environmental reviews. Several courts have recently remanded projects back to FERC to do more review of their climate impacts.
But Glick said on March 24 that FERC decided to gather comments from all interested stakeholders “in light of concerns that the policy statements created further confusion about the Commission’s approach to the siting of natural gas projects.”
Europe depends on Russia for about 40% of its natural gas, but is trying to cut that dependency after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
U.S. lawmakers and energy industry trade groups have called on the Biden administration to ramp up natural gas and oil exports to Europe. The U.S. LNG industry has already boosted shipments, but is at capacity as FERC considers new projects.
Several senators from natural gas producing states, including Democrat Joe Manchin and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, had called on FERC to kill the policy.
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