Court Rejects Challenge to Freeport LNG Facility
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has rejected an environmental challenge to the construction of the Freeport LNG export terminal in Texas.
In its Tuesday decision, the Court ruled that the Department of Energy (DOE) conducted the necessary environmental and economic reviews before approving the project. The Sierra Club had challenged the DOE’s reviews, saying the agency didn’t comply with federal environmental laws before approving the terminal in 2014 and that the DOE should should have considered the indirect environmental impacts of increasing LNG exports.
The Sierra Club has issued a statement saying it is disappointed with the decision. “This LNG export approval creates unnecessary risks for the people of Freeport, Texas, and for every community that is saddled with fracking rigs next to their homes, schools and public spaces,” said Nathan Matthews, a Sierra Club attorney.
The industry group API today welcomed the decision, saying it affirmed a predictable and reasonable permitting process for additional LNG export facilities across the country. “Increased natural gas exports will create jobs and increase the energy security for our nation and our allies throughout the world,” said API Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Marty Durbin.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported earlier this month that the U.S. exported more natural gas than it imported in three of the first five months of this year – February, April and May – which is historic since the U.S. has been a net importer (on an average annual basis) for nearly 60 years. In addition, EIA projects that the U.S. will be a net natural gas exporter for the year in 2017.
The terminal, owned by Freeport LNG Development, is due to commence operation next year.