Friday Trash Dump: Obama DOE Approves 2nd Fracked Gas LNG Export Terminal

Steve Horn
DeSmogBlog / News Report
Published: Sunday 19 May 2013
Given the myriad ties that bind, it’s tough to fathom any other decision being made by the DOE on Freeport or any other LNG export terminal from here on out.
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Friday is the proverbial "take out the trash day" for the release of bad news among public relations practitioners and this Friday was no different. 

In that vein, yesterday the Obama Department of Energy (DOE) announced a conditional approval of the second-ever LNG (liquefied natural gas) export terminal. 

LNG is the super-chilled final product of gas obtained - predominantly in today's context - via the controversial hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") process taking place within shale deposits located throughout the U.S. Fracked gas is shipped from the multitude of domestic shale basins in pipelines to various coastal LNG terminals, and then sent on LNG tankers to the global market.

The name of the terminal: Freeport LNG.

Freeport LNG is 50-percent owned by ConocoPhillips and located in Freeport, Texas, an hour-long car ride south of Houston. The export facility is the second one approved by the Obama DOE, with the first one - the Sabine Pass terminal, owned by Cheniere and located in Sabine Pass, Louisiana - approved in May 2011

DOE gave its rubber stamp of approval to Freeport LNG to export up to 1.4 billion cubic feet of LNG per day from its terminal. 

Moniz's DOE is Dept. of LNG Exports

The announcement comes in the aftermath of an April DeSmogBlog investigation revealing that recently confirmed Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz - a former member of the Board of Directors of ICF International - has a binder full of conflicts-of-interest in any decision the DOE makes to export the U.S. shale gas bounty.

As we explained in that investigation, a Feb. 2013 "study" published by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and conducted on its behalf by ICF International concluded exporting shale gas was on the economically sound up-and-up.

ICF is a consulting firm that teams up with oil and gas industry corporations and was one of three firms that did the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on behalf of the U.S. State Department for the northern half of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline. The SEIS was published in March 2013. 

Furthermore, among the members of the Obama Administration's industry-stacked DOE Fracking Subcommittee formed in May 2011 was Kathleen "Katie" McGinty. McGinty formerly served as Vice President Al Gore’s top climate aide during the Clinton Administration, segueing from that position into one as chair of the Clinton Council on Environmental Quality from 1993-1998. Her husband is Karl Hausker, the Vice President of ICF International.

In Dec. 2012, the DOE - like API/ICF - said exporting LNG was economically sound. The DOE's LNG exports economics study itself was published by another industry-tied firm, NERA (National Economic Research Associates) Economic Consulting.  

Given the myriad ties that bind, it's tough to fathom any other decision being made by the DOE on Freeport or any other LNG export terminal from here on out. And the ecological consequences of that will be disastrous. 

"Exporting LNG will lead to more drilling -- and more drilling means more fracking, more air and water pollution, and more climate fueled weather disasters like last year's record fires, droughts, and superstorms," Deb Nardone, Director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Natural Gas campaign said in a press release in response to the DOE announcement. 

"Once environmental impacts are evaluated, it becomes clear that the additional fracking and gas production exports would induce is unacceptable."



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ABOUT Steve Horn

Steve Horn is a researcher and writer at DeSmogBlog. He is also a freelance investigative journalist. Follow him on Twitter at @Steve_Horn1022.

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5 comments on "Friday Trash Dump: Obama DOE Approves 2nd Fracked Gas LNG Export Terminal"

Georgann Putintsev

May 27, 2013 4:17pm

Its CLEAR that the KEYSTONE Pipeline (entrenched Canadians on our soil) and these other Gas/Oil Corpoations are NOT interested in US Energy Needs/daily consumption. Their only interest is the Bottom line. Making a profit : coming & going ...and having WE THE PEOPLE pay the bill. What else is our Federal/Corporate DOE/Think Tanks/Congress GIVING them? What kind of subsities have they committed too?
Environmentally -- this is frustrating! We have the technology to go Green to ween ourselves off of OIL before it runs out; but those in power buy into the same 6 Degree revolving door repetition. Do we really trust them to CLEAN-up if something goes wrong. That latest Exxon cleanup of a pipeline spill with paper towels, shows these Corporations interest in protecting the American People.
As stated above, its an endless battle of bottom lining and having American pay for it. Can we afford to have Generations to come affected by this kind of Greed and Avarice? Can't we instill Generation Laws and Gold Rule Laws on the books as the FIRST obstacle they must pass.

carliegqfahodges

May 20, 2013 4:04am

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bruderly

May 19, 2013 4:07pm

LNG is the ideal fuel for heavy-duty engines used to power marine, rail, off-road equipment and trucks.The tragedy is that this terminal is designed solely to load big ships and the entire capacity is earmarked for export other Nations. Even though it would be easy to do so, the owners have refused to make the modest investment needed to make it possible to load LNG into barges so this cleaner, domestically produced fuel could be used by American ship owners, railroads and truckers. I am shocked that the Obama Administration failed to notice and correct this oversight.

RealityBites

May 19, 2013 2:42pm

DOE = Dept of Evil....... can easily tell its a government agency, its criminal in nature and traitorous in intent.

Nothing Obama does is out of step with his goose stepping masters.

Randy

May 19, 2013 11:38am

This is something that needs to be blocked from ever happening. Why would we, the Country that consumes the most massive amount of energy on the planet allow the Big Oil criminals to export the energy that they poisened our drinking water to get and then have to turn around and import more at a higher cost?? That ONLY benefits the OIL Criminals!!