Docket No. CP14-517-001

I concur with this order and write separately to clarify why I agree with the decision not to characterize the significance of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the proposed Variance No. 15 for the GPX Terminal.[1] 

As I have explained at greater length in my concurrences in other recent orders,[2] so long as the Commission meets its substantive obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), it is appropriate to decline to label GHG emissions as significant or insignificant while we are considering comments on our Draft GHG Policy Statement and deciding on a final policy.[3] 

The Commission has met its substantive NEPA obligations with respect to proposed Variance No. 15.  To begin with, NEPA requires us to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a project with impacts that might significantly affect the quality of the human environment.[4]  Here, the Commission prepared an environmental assessment (EA) on Variance No. 15.[5]  Based on the EA, as supplemented by the analysis in the Commission’s order, the Commission has reasonably concluded that approval of Variance No. 15 will not have a significant environmental impact.  As the courts have held NEPA requires,[6] the EA describes the climate impacts caused by GHG emissions.[7]  The courts have further determined that quantifying emissions and comparing them to national and state emissions levels is a “reasonable proxy” for assessing climate impacts from GHG emissions.[8]  The Commission’s order does this as well.[9]

After careful consideration, I conclude that approval of Variance No. 15 is not inconsistent with the public interest.

For these reasons, I respectfully concur.

[1] Golden Pass LNG Terminal LLC, 180 FERC ¶ 61,058, at P 20 (2022) (Order). 

[2] See, e.g., Columbia Gulf Transmission, LLC, 178 FERC ¶ 61,198 (2022) (Clements, Comm’r, concurring); Tenn. Gas Pipeline Co., 178 FERC ¶ 61,199 (2022) (Clements, Comm’r, concurring); Iroquois Gas Transmission Sys., L.P., 178 FERC ¶ 61,200 (2022) (Clements, Comm’r, concurring); Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, 178 FERC ¶ 61,201 (2022) (Clements, Comm’r, concurring).

[3] See Order on Draft Policy Statements, 178 FERC ¶ 61,197, at P 2 (2022); Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Nat. Gas Infrastructure Project Reviews, 178 FERC ¶ 61,108 (2022).

[4] See 42 U.S.C. § 4332(C); 40 C.F.R. § 1502.3 (2012); Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 985 F.3d 1032, 1039 (D.C. Cir. 2021), cert. denied, 2022 WL 516382 (Feb. 22, 2022). 

[5] Golden Pass LNG Export Variance Request No. 15 Amendment Environmental Assessment, Docket No. CP14-517-001 (Mar. 22, 2022).

[6] See, e.g., WildEarth Guardians v. Jewell, 738 F.3d 298, 308-311 (D.C. Cir. 2013). 

[7] See EA at pp. 22-25.         

[8] WildEarth Guardians, 738 F.3d at 309; Sierra Club v. FERC, 867 F.3d 1357, 1374 (D.C. Cir. 2017). 

[9] Order, 180 FERC ¶ 61,058 at P 21.

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