Update at 4:25 p.m.
The federal agency responsible for studying the environmental impact of the Alaska LNG project has released a timeline for completing its review.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced on Tuesday that it plans to release a draft of the final Environmental Impact Statement in a year. If they stick to that schedule, they could authorize the project as early as March of 2020.
The state was hoping to get through that permitting process and begin construction next year.
But, Alaska Gasline Development Corporation President Keith Meyer said the corporation can still bring the project online by 2025.
“We’re just happy that it’s a schedule that we can work with, we can live with and that does not adversely impact the project,” he said. “So we’re pretty excited about it. Today was a big day for us here.”
But not everyone is as excited about an environmental review with such a quick turnaround.
Erin Whalen is a senior associate attorney with Earthjustice, a non-profit, environmental law organization. She said the environmental review timeline needs to be scaled to the project.
“This is a huge project,” she said. “It’s going to affect tons of communities across Alaska and input, getting input from communities in Alaska takes time. Any community it takes time, but in Alaska in particular it’s tricky to ensure that people have been fully heard on a project.”
Whalen said it’s not just community input that matters either.
“Then you’re talking about not just communities but … climate change and not just a handful of species but potentially hundreds of species across this giant swathe of land,” she said. “So it’s an ambitious timeline.”
At least one community is already weighing-in with the federal commission on Tuesday.
Valdez Mayor Ruth Knight sent the federal commission a letter asking for further study of the wetlands impact of the project.
The federal commission has already ordered the state corporation to study Valdez and the Matanuska-Susitna borough as potential alternative sites for the mega-project.
The federal agency responsible for studying the environmental impact of the Alaska LNG project has released a timeline for completing that review.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced on Tuesday, March 13, that it planned to release a draft of the final Environmental Impact Statement in about a year.
If the federal commission sticks to that schedule, they could authorize the project as early as March of 2020.
The state was hoping to get through that permitting process by 2019 and begin construction.
Still, Alaska Gasline Development Corporation President Keith Meyer said in a press release that the schedule will keep the gas export project on track to come online by 2025.
The state corporation is still looking for customers for Alaska’s gas and partners to help finance the $45 billion project.
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