The U.S. Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi will assess safety and security issues associated with liquefied natural gas tankers traveling in the Matagorda Ship Channel
in order to make a recommendation to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regarding Calhoun LNG, L.P.'s proposal to build a liquefied natural gas terminal in Calhoun County.
The Coast Guard received official notification of Calhoun LNG, L.P.'s plans on March 14, 2005.
"We plan to work very closely with local officials, members of our Harbor Safety Committee and the Area Maritime Security Committee in evaluating this proposal," said Captain Jake Korn, Coast Guard Captain of the Port at Sector Corpus Christi. "We will also be looking for comments from the general public to ensure we have considered the full range of issues associated with moving LNG tankers on the Matagorda Ship Channel."
FERC is responsible for authorizing the siting, construction, and operation of onshore LNG facilities
. Upon receiving an application for an LNG facility
, FERC is required to complete an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), evaluating issues ranging from air quality and biological impacts, to cultural and socioeconomic impacts, to safety and security impacts. The Coast Guard will serve as a cooperating agency for FERC's EIS.
Calhoun LNG, L.P. has provided the Coast Guard with a preliminary safety and security assessment that identifies navigational safety hazards as well as potential security threats, along with recommended mitigation measures and the resources (federal, state, local and private sector) that will be needed to provide an acceptable level of safety and security for the proposed LNG operations
. This assessment has been submitted to the Coast Guard so that it can be reviewed and validated by key stakeholders at the port, including members of the Area Maritime Security Committee. Based on this assessment, the Coast Guard Captain of the Port will evaluate the suitability of the waterway for LNG marine traffic and provide his findings to FERC for inclusion in its EIS.