Anti-LNG bill defeated

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Sept. 15, 2006 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

In a legislative session marked by some key wins by environmental advocates, SB 426 (Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto) stands out as a rare victory for advocates of new energy supplies for the State.

On Aug. 31, the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee held an impromptu committee meeting off the Assembly floor and defeated the bill by a 7-3 vote. 

SB 426 would have required the California Energy Commission (CEC) to evaluate and rank every proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and would have directed the Governor to disapprove an application for a license to construct and operate an LNG terminal if the project wasn’t in the top two highest ranked sites.

Committee members were unmoved by the disinformation and scare tactics coming from some of the bill’s proponents, choosing instead to rely on the facts about LNG: The current permitting process is more than adequate, the state needs more natural gas and the way to bring this about is through LNG. 

LNG projects are already undergoing lengthy reviews by multiple federal and state agencies to ensure public safety and environmental safeguards.

The need for more natural gas to fuel our growing economy and fire electric power plants has been extensively documented by the CEC. Both the CEC and California Public Utilities Commission agree that California needs to "promote infrastructure enhancements, such as additional pipeline and storage capacity, and diversify supply sources to include liquefied natural gas."

Opponents of LNG argue that conservation and renewable power is all we need.  They are wrong, as shown by years of study as well as recent events.  The CEC forecasts that demand cannot be met with natural gas from domestic wells through existing pipelines.  Tight supplies are already causing high natural gas prices – nearly double what they were in 2000. Consumers and businesses are now receiving high utility bills for both natural gas and electricity.  In the July heatwave, it was hydroelectric power, nuclear plants and the traditional natural-gas fired plants that kept the lights on. 

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