Freeport LNG delayed its target for resuming gas export operations, again, on Thursday. The terminal, which accounts for about one-fifth of U.S. methane gas exports, has been offline since a major explosion in June. The company’s failure to secure necessary approvals of critical repairs forced it to push back its resumption of partial operations from the middle to the end of December.
As families across the country already face the prospect of winter with debilitating fossil fuel heating bills, the company’s expected resumption of export operations, along with forecasts for colder weather, pushed methane gas futures to record highs last week as the oil and gas industry reaps record profits. FERC’s approval of the massive Commonwealth LNG export terminal project along the southwest Louisiana coast will increase U.S. gas exports, pushing domestic prices even higher — along with greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental injustices inflicted upon nearby communities.
John Allaire, a resident of Cameron Parish reflected on FERC’s record of approving gas export facilities: “I look at the FERC mission statement, and what they are doing has nothing to do with their mission statement, to just keep permitting these export terminals.” James Hiatt, the southwest Louisiana coordinator of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, noted “[t]he long-term environmental and climate damages far outweigh any perceived economic impact this facility would provide a local community.”
FERC adopted a framework in February to consider the climate and environmental justice impacts of gas projects, like gas export terminals, only to retreat under pressure from the oil and gas industry and lawmakers in March. (Freeport delay: S&P Global; Methane gas prices: Reuters; FERC/Commonwealth LNG: Inside Climate News; Heating bills: Wall Street Journal $, Quartz; Maine: WMTW; New Hampshire: The New Hampshire)