CPUC questioned historic oversight authority.
To guarantee the continued growth of liquefied natural gas (LNG) importation and use...
of public convenience and necessity] in order to operate its proposed LNG facility legally." Moreover, the CPUC states that SES must "apply for and receive" a CPCN before it begins construction. However, no such application was filed with the CPUC (as of press time), so in February, when SES filed for FERC's siting approval, the CPUC moved to intervene.
SES hasn't commented on the CPUC's assertions, but the commission's motion adopts a somewhat defensive stance regarding the efficiency and fairness of its permitting processes.
"The CPUC has an open mind on the issues and will consider all of the parties' positions in a hearing on SES's application," the motion states. And, "at the request of sponsors of proposed LNG projects along the West Coast, the CPUC set an expedited schedule so that the CPUC could issue a decision by the summer of 2004 on some of the main access issues."
FERC isn't commenting directly on the case. However, at a media briefing in early March, FERC Chairman Pat Wood noted that he spoke with CPUC Chairman Michael Peevey about his concerns in advance of the filing, but that FERC has a statutory obligation to examine the facility. "So stay tuned," he said.-M.T.B.
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