Energy & Environment

Watchdog finds agencies using outdated standards for gas export facilities

ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images
A vessel carrying Liqufied Natural Gas (LNG) passes through the International water between Singapore and Indonesia, 05 September 2005. 

Government agencies are using some outdated standards while evaluating permits for liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities, according to a new report from a congressional watchdog. 

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office found that eight standards used by the Coast Guard, eight standards used by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and one standard used by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) are outdated as of March. 

LNG export facilities liquefy natural gas from pipelines so it can be transported on ships to other places. 

The outdated standards that are part of regulations used by all three agencies that have since been updated. 

For example, the outdated FERC standard, issued in 1984, aims to prevent earthquake damage to LNG facilities and uses requirements that have since been replaced, the report said. 

And Coast Guard regulations rely on a 1994 standard for fire extinguishers that has been updated five times. 

The report recommended that the agencies review their standard-specific regulations every three to five years and update them when necessary. 

The government largely agreed with the recommendations made in the report. 

In its official response to the report, FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee said he has directed staff to begin next steps. 

Keith Washington, the deputy assistant secretary for administration at the Department of Transportation, which oversees the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, said that the agency has established a timeline for reviewing standards in its LNG regulations every three to five years.

And Jim Crumpacker, the director of the Government Accountability Office’s liaison office at the Department of Homeland Security, of which the Coast Guard is part, said that it has started to update its process for standards-specific reviews. 

Tags Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Fuels Liquefied natural gas Natural gas Neil Chatterjee Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
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