Aug 04, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – The Alaska Liquid Natural Gas project is facing a supplementary environmental review under the new Biden Administration before it can proceed. The project, which is estimated to cost US$38.7 billion dollars, proposes to send Natural Gas flowing from the Alaskan North Slope down to a proposed plant in Nikiski on the Kenai Peninsula, where it would be liquefied, sold and shipped out. Additionally, the project only got the go-ahead from environmental regulators under the Trump administration last year.
Local media site, Alaskan Public Media (APM), has reported that on the North Slope, the gas is already being pumped out of the ground — it’s just not being sent to market. To get it there, the State, under Trump, had approved the construction of an 800-mile pipeline, but now the Biden administration has opted to conduct another environmental review of the project. The decision, which was announced in early July by the federal Department of Energy is part of the Biden administration’s focus on fighting climate change, and is also in support of a legal challenge from the Sierra Club, a national environmental organisation.
According to APM, under the review, regulators will take a fresh look at the environmental impacts of Natural Gas production on Alaska’s North Slope. In addition, they will analyse the project’s full greenhouse gas emission potential — from its extraction to its export and use overseas. At the conclusion of this, the federal government could then decide whether to keep, change or overturn approval for the project.
The Alaska Gas line Development Corporation, a public corporation under the State, doesn’t see the order as an obstacle, according to company spokesman, Tim Fitzpatrick. “The project has been thoroughly scrutinised over a period of about six years or so, taking a look at over 150,000 pages of data,” Fitzpatrick said. “So we’re confident that the project is going to continue to stand up to any environmental scrutiny.”
Despite this optimistic and confident outlook however, others, such as Larry Persily, a coordinator for gas transportation projects under President Barack Obama, doesn’t see the gas line project happening. “I looked at it and thought, ‘Well, okay, that’s good. You can do a supplemental EIS on a project that’s probably never, ever going to go ahead. But hey, if you got the time, go for it,’” he said.
APM states that three large oil and gas companies were once signed onto the project and filed a permit to ship the resulting Natural Gas overseas. But they later pulled their support, due to high project costs and Alaska’s declining market for liquefied Natural Gas.
Furthermore, a spokesperson from the Department of Energy said, the department will foot the bill for the supplemental environmental assessment. The department also said, it will issue a notice when the draft supplemental statement is released. It will take comments and hold hearings on the draft. Once the assessment is finalised, the agency could decide to reaffirm, modify or retract the federal authorisation for the project, according to an April rehearing on the project.
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