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Lessons from the DOE’s LNG Export Approvals

Unlike with oil, there is no unified global market for natural gas. Instead, there are numerous regional markets that are oriented around pipeline networks and increasingly connected to each other through liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker shipments. In the last several years, the surge of shale gas production in the United States has driven down… Full Story

NEPA and Environmental Impacts of LNG Exports

This past summer, the Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy (DOE/FE) revised the procedure it uses when considering whether to allow certain exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The new procedure establishes a timeline that turns on the completion of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, which has always been essential to decisions… Full Story

An Inconsistent Approach to “Public Interest” Consistency Determinations: Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act and the Rush to Export LNG

The Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy (DOE/FE) recently revised the process it follows when considering applications under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (the NGA) to import or export liquefied natural gas (LNG). Under the NGA, DOE must issue an approval unless “it finds that the proposed exportation or importation will not… Full Story

Federal Financing for Australia LNG Projects Does Not Trigger ESA

Already the world’s third-largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), Australia is expected to overtake Qatar as the leader by 2016, as its natural gas boom has driven production and led to the construction of new export infrastructure at a much faster clip than in other emerging LNG powerhouses like the United States and Canada…. Full Story

Policy Trends in Congressional LNG Legislation

This past summer, the Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy (DOE/FE) revised the procedure it follows when reviewing applications for permission to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) under the Natural Gas Act of 1938 (NGA), as amended. At the same time, as the economic opportunities of LNG beckon and the volume of NGA applications… Full Story

Natural Disasters and State-Level Executive Powers

This summer, the Sunlight Foundation – a nonprofit that advocates for open government – released a comparative study of the accessibility of state-level executive orders. It found a great deal of variability from one state to the next, in terms of both accessibility and the legal substance of the orders. As the study noted, state-level… Full Story

Seismic Activity and Hydraulic Fracturing

Earlier this month, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallon created a new entity – the Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity—to connect legislators with researchers exploring the relationship between seismicity and hydraulic fracturing. The month before, a resident of Prague – a small town about 60 miles due east of Oklahoma City – filed a complaint in state… Full Story

Early Takeaways from the Deepwater Horizon Decision

Last week, Judge Carl Barbier of the Eastern District of Louisiana issued an opinion in the first phase of the trial over the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which remains the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history The court had previously split the trial into three phases. The first was conducted between February and April 2013… Full Story

Texas Railroad Commission on track to address quakes

Over 30 earthquakes jolted the area in and around the City of Azle, Texas —20 miles north of Fort Worth—last November through January.  In response to citizen concerns, the Texas House Committee on Energy Resources created a Subcommittee on Seismic Activity, to investigate whether there was a link between earthquakes and increased oil and gas… Full Story

Harmonizing Transparency: the Need for FOIA¬-Accessibility of Privately Funded Research that Informs Regulatory Action

Fifteen years ago Congress passed the Data Access Act, requiring public access to all federally funded research data used in agency decision-making.  The Data Access Act, implemented by OMB Circular A-110, requires federal agencies to provide underlying research data in federally funded research that is the subject of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. … Full Story