Last Modified: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 10:56 AM
Officials from Sempra and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will be in Sulphur on Thursday to answer questions from the public on the Cameron LNG liquefaction project.
The meeting is the next step in Sempra’s quest to receive FERC’s Authority to Construct permit for the Cameron project. Sempra officials received notification from FERC last month that the commission issued a draft of its environmental impact statement on the project.
“The authorization to construct has been our focus,” said Octavio Simoes, president of Sempra LNG. “We were the first project of all the liquefaction projects to receive the notice of schedule environmental review, which came out in November. We have actually surpassed every other project that’s being developed in that area. Projects that started before us are now behind us because we realized early that the FERC authorization to construct is the key element to make it all possible.”
FERC’s EIS is a 600-page report in which the commission receives input on the Cameron project from agencies such as the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.
The report also addresses all of the project’s technical issues.
As part of FERC’s permitting process, Sempra officials must meet with the public to take comments and answer questions on the project. The period for those who wish to submit written remarks to FERC will end March 3.
“This meeting in Sulphur is to get public comment from any individuals who may have anything to say about the draft so that those concerns are addressed in one matter or another before the final EIS is published,” Simoes said.
FERC’s website says the commission’s environmental staff concluded that the project’s construction and operation “would result in adverse environmental impacts.” It says the impacts “would be reduced to less-than-significant levels” with the implementation of the measures recommended in the EIS draft and with the project’s proposed minimization and mitigation measures.
Among the measures listed on FERC’s website are compliance with the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act; the implementation of plans to protect natural resources and the restoration of all disturbed areas during the project’s construction and operation; and the use of horizontal directional drilling, which, FERC says, “would avoid disturbances to a number of wetlands and major waterbodies along the route.”
Horizontal directional drilling is the process by which pipe is laid without digging trenches.
FERC officials will also be on hand to answer questions on Cameron’s EIS. Sempra officials expect to have FERC’s final EIS on the project by April 30 and to receive the commission’s approval on the project by July 29, Simoes said.
“That means the authorization to construct may occur anytime between April 30 and July 29,” Simoes said.
Thursday’s meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the Holiday Inn on Arena Road in Sulphur.