Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Import Terminals: Siting, Safety, and Regulation [December 14, 2009] [open pdf - 476KB]
"Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a hazardous fuel shipped in large tankers to U.S. ports from overseas. While LNG has historically made up a small part of U.S. natural gas supplies, rising price volatility, and the possibility of domestic shortages have significantly increased LNG demand. To meet this demand, energy companies have proposed new LNG import terminals throughout the coastal United States. Many of these terminals would be built onshore near populated areas. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) grants federal approval for the siting of new onshore LNG facilities under the Natural Gas Act of 1938 and the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58). This approval process incorporates minimum safety standards for LNG established by the Department of Transportation. Although LNG has had a record of relative safety for the last 45 years, and no LNG tanker or land-based facility has been attacked by terrorists, proposals for new LNG terminal facilities have generated considerable public concern. Some community groups and governments officials fear that LNG terminals may expose nearby residents to unacceptable hazards. Ongoing public concern about LNG safety has focused congressional attention on the exclusivity of FERC's LNG siting authority, proposals for a regional LNG siting process, the lack of 'remote' siting requirements in FERC regulations, state permitting requirements under the Clean Water Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act, terrorism attractiveness of LNG, the adequacy of Coast Guard security resources, and other issues."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32205