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Pipeline Safety Stakeholder Communications

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Siting LNG Plants

The location and purpose of the LNG plant determines the agencies involved in the siting decision. The following types of LNG plants have distinct siting processes:

  • Import terminal outside State waters (Deepwater Port)
  • Import terminal on the coast or within State waters
  • Peak-Shaving plant connected to the interstate gas transmission system
  • Peak-Shaving plant connected to an intrastate gas transmission line or a gas distribution system

Import terminal outside State waters (Deepwater Port)

The U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Maritime Administration (MARAD) share responsibility for the safety, security, and environmental review of deepwater ports. The U.S. Coast Guard coordinates the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review, which examines the location, technical design, topside equipment layout, technologies for storing and regasification, and methods of port construction. During review of the operational requirements, the U.S. Coast Guard evaluates the facility and security manuals to ensure compliance with the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA). As part of the NEPA review, the U.S. Coast Guard asks local, State, and Federal agencies within the affected area to identify specific issues to be addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

After the U.S. Coast Guard issues the EIS, MARAD decides whether to issue the deepwater port license. If MARAD decides to issue the license, the Governor of the adjacent coastal State must also approve the license before it is granted.

For additional details on the U.S. Coast Guard role in deepwater port siting, visit http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg522/cg5225/

For additional details on the MARAD deepwater port licensing program, visit http://www.marad.dot.gov/ports_landing_page/deepwater_port_licensing/deepwater_port_licensing.htm

Import terminal on the coast or within State waters

Three federal agencies share oversight of the safety and security of these LNG import terminals: the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the U.S. Coast Guard, and the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). FERC authorizes the siting and construction of these LNG terminals and is the lead Federal agency under NEPA to analyze the environmental, safety, security, and cryogenic design of proposed facilities. The U.S. Coast Guard has authority over the safety of LNG vessels and the marine transfer area. The U.S. Coast Guard conducts a Waterway Suitability Assessment to address navigation safety and port security issues associated with LNG ship traffic. PHMSA has exclusive authority to establish and enforce safety regulations for the onshore LNG facilities.

During an LNG community awareness workshop in February 2005, we learned that the fire services did not have an impartial, concise source of information about LNG. We partnered with NASFM, other Federal agencies, universities, and industry to explain LNG in a style readily understood by emergency responders. In June 2005, NASFM published An Overview of the LNG Industry for Fire Marshals and Emergency Responders. This important document provides a broad overview of LNG, its hazards and risks, and the issues that fire safety officials may face as LNG infrastructure expands to meet the country’s future energy needs.

Fire officials also wanted to understand the complex process of designing and siting an LNG import terminal. NASFM again called upon diverse stakeholders for input and in January 2007 published Fire Service Guidance for Participating in LNG Terminal Evaluation, Siting, and Operations. This document educates fire officials about the regulatory processes that ensure the safety and security of LNG terminals. Fire officials are encouraged to participate in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) cryogenic design conferences and the US Coast Guard waterway suitability assessments. These processes culminate in the facility Emergency Response Plan (ERP), which must be approved by FERC prior to construction of the terminal. Fire official participation in the development of the ERP ensures that local response agencies have the knowledge and resources necessary to protect their communities.

For additional details on FERC’s LNG siting process, visit http://www.ferc.gov/industries/gas/indus-act/lng.asp

For additional details on the U.S. Coast Guard “Guidance Related To Waterfront Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)”, see the USCG Navigation And Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) NO. 01-2011.

Peak-Shaving plant connected to the interstate gas transmission system

The process just described for import terminals within coastal waters also applies to these LNG plants, except that the U.S. Coast Guard is not involved.

Peak-Shaving plant connected to an intrastate gas transmission line or a gas distribution system

The LNG plants are sited through processes established under state laws and regulations.

LNG Plants Connected to Natural Gas Pipeline Systems. Follow this link for a map.