On Friday, August 31, 2018, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced that the two agencies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to coordinate the siting and safety review of FERC-jurisdictional LNG facilities. PHMSA is responsible for standards governing the location and design of LNG facilities. FERC is responsible for determining whether proposed FERC-jurisdictional LNG facilities are in the public interest.
The MOU clarifies each agency’s responsibilities related to the application review process for potential LNG projects, including PHMSA’s review for compliance with the siting requirements contained in Part 193 of the Federal Pipeline Safety Regulations. The MOU establishes a framework for coordination between FERC and PHMSA to process LNG applications in a timely and expeditious manner while ensuring decision-makers are fully informed on public safety impacts. The MOU provides that PHMSA will review LNG project applications to determine whether a proposed facility complies with the safety standards set forth in PHMSA’s regulations, and that PHMSA will issue a letter to FERC stating its findings regarding such compliance. FERC will then consider PHMSA’s compliance findings in its decision on whether a project is in the public interest.
“PHMSA’s LNG safety experts are fully prepared to analyze current and future project proposals, evaluate their potential impact on public safety, and reduce barriers to moving these projects forward,” said PHMSA Administrator Skip Elliott.
The agreement also refines information-sharing practices between the agencies, including all documents, information, and data submitted by facility applicants.