03 April 2005 00:09 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (CNI)--Top US congressional leaders say the “looming natural gas crisis” must be addressed this year in a long-sought national energy policy bill - and that large-scale imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) must be part of the solution.
As a measure of the concern with which federal policy makers now view the natgas crisis, top energy officials in the newly re-elected Bush administration have suggested using “eminent domain” to override wide public opposition to the siting of LNG terminals.?xml:namespace>
Senator Pete Domenici (Republican-New Mexico), chairman of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, has warned that unless US policy makers move quickly to clear the regulatory path for new LNG terminals and take other vital steps, “the ?xml:namespace>
An analysis by the Energy Committee also said that in addition to urgent construction of new LNG terminals, the
Domenici cited Department of Energy (DoE) data showing that by 2025, the
“Most of that imported natural gas,” said Domenici, “will have to come in the form of LNG - and yet, progress toward selecting sites for LNG terminals needed to handle those imports is non-existent.” He said a chief goal of his committee in drafting a new comprehensive energy bill this year “must be to find some way to reduce the multi-agency jurisdiction problem in siting LNG terminals.”
Mark Robinson, director of energy projects at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), has suggested that Congress should grant eminent domain authority to FERC for the selection of LNG terminal sites. Under eminent domain, federal authorities may seize private property (with fair market compensation) in order to advance public sector projects - such as railroads, pipelines and highways - that serve the greater good..
Citing widespread public opposition that has blocked proposed LNG terminal projects on the US East, West and Gulf Coasts, Robinson told Domenici and the committee that “it may be time to invoke eminent domain” to site and advance construction of the needed terminals.
With increased Republican majorities in both the Senate and House, the Bush administration is expected to press hard for natgas and other energy reforms in a new energy policy bill that Domenici says “must be passed out of Congress as soon as possible this year.”
Twice before, in 2003 and 2004, a comprehensive energy bill that cleared the House got mired in factional in-fighting in the Senate and died there. But Congressional observers believe that with the new Republican majority in the Senate, the energy bill might well get to the president’s desk this year.
Officials at the Arlington, Virginia-based American Chemistry Council (ACC) see an even more ominous impact if the
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