Timeline Set for Environmental Analysis of Alaska LNG Project

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — 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 Tuesday that it plans to release a draft of the final Environmental Impact Statement in a year, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported.

The project could be authorized by March 2020 if the agency sticks to its timeline, although the state was hoping to get through that permitting process and begin construction next year.

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,” Meyer said.

Erin Whalen, senior associate attorney with the nonprofit environmental group Earthjustice, said the review timeline needs to be scaled to the project and take its time.

“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.”

Whalen said it’s not just community input that matters.

“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

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 state corporation is still looking for customers for Alaska’s gas and for partners to help finance the $45 billion project.

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