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Port Arthur LNG’s Next Permit

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Air emission permits for the first phase of the California-based energy firm’s proposed liquid natural gas export terminal already have been granted, but a request for permits for more liquefaction capacity came before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in August.

After a rare split vote from TCEQ commissioners allowing the process to proceed, the State Office of Administrative Hearings spent the past few months deciding if John Beard and the Port Arthur Community Action Network will be impacted by the potential project.

An administrative law judge ruled in favour of Beard, paving the way for a contested hearing in the next few months.

“We felt that based on the current law and regulations and information we provided, we had a very good case because of the very nature of my health issues and the concerns for the community,” Beard said. “We’re glad the judge felt similarly.”

During this phase of the state’s permitting process, individuals or groups have to prove they have some kind of stake in the potential addition of an air emission source in their community — a process designed to weed out obstructive requests.

Once the group’s counsel submits their case information to TCEQ administration, there could be a hearing scheduled sometime at the beginning of the year.

TCEQ commissioners then will consider Beard’s arguments about how Port Arthur LNG’s potential expansion would impact him and people like him living in southern Jefferson County.

Work is nearing completion on the relocation of Texas 87 to create a stable foundation to build the project on, but the company recently pushed its schedule for a final investment decision forward into next year. The first phase of the project, which already is permitted, would establish two natural gas liquefaction trains capable of creating up to 13.5 million tons per year of LNG and three massive storage tanks. Phase II, which is at question in the hearing, would include two additional liquefaction trains that add another 13.5 mpta of LNG to the terminal’s capacity.

In a statement from Port Arthur LNG, representatives told the Enterprise that the company’s environmental track record and emission controls have seemed to speak for themselves with state regulators in the past.

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