In this case, Ecology argues the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) prematurely awarded a license in September to Northern Star Natural Gas for a liquefied natural gas terminal and pipeline that impacts Washington and communities.
The proposed pipeline route for the Bradwood Landing project would cross the Columbia River and extend 17 miles underground through .
Federal law requires FERC to perform a detailed environmental impact review. Ecology takes issue with the adequacy of FERC's review which guided the Commission's license decision.
Rather than wait for FERC's decision on the request for rehearing, Gov. Chris Gregoire directed Ecology to help conduct a thorough environmental review through the State Environmental Policy Act.
Ecology also has responsibility to determine whether construction and operation of a pipeline running through can meet state water quality standards and this review needs to occur ahead of any FERC decision.
Ecology's request for rehearing asks FERC to reconsider its September decision on the following factors:
- The analysis of potential risk to the public and emergency preparedness falls short.
- The analysis of impacts of LNG tanker ballast water withdrawals on fish and discharge of engine cooling water on river temperature is lacking.
- The analysis of the impact of larger ships and increased traffic on wake stranding of juvenile salmonids is insufficient.
- The evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions is inadequate.
- FERC's review fails to fully analyze the effects on commercial and recreational fishing due to shipping delays caused by LNG vessels.
- The potential for landslides along proposed pipeline routes and pipeline integrity management hasn't been adequately evaluated.
is not alone in its challenge of FERC's timing. The state of is filing a similar reconsideration request.
Ecology should hear from FERC within the next 30 days. If FERC agrees to reconsider its decision, there is no time frame for it to issue a new decision.
Earlier this year, Ecology sought reconsideration of a FERC decision on a wave energy project along the coast. In that instance, FERC declined Ecology's request and the state is pursuing federal court review.