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Industrial gas consumers urge Trump to fill seats at FERC

The Industrial Energy Consumers of America urged President Donald Trump to nominate three candidates to fill vacancies at FERC, expressing concern that anticipated volumes of LNG exports will compete for gas pipeline capacity with manufacturing facilities and result in insufficient supply for industrial gas consumers.

"We are especially concerned about sufficient natural gas pipeline capacity to supply manufacturing facilities going forward," Paul Cicio, said in a Jan. 31 letter. "This concern is especially heightened given the significant anticipated volume of LNG exports that will compete with manufacturing pipeline capacity demand."

Former FERC Chairman Norman Bay announced Jan. 26 that he was resigning, leaving the commission with just two commissioners as of Feb. 3: acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur and Commissioner Colette Honorable, both Democrats. Three commissioners are needed for the independent agency to establish a quorum to vote on orders, such as those to issue Natural Gas Act certificates for gas pipeline and LNG terminal projects. Much of the agency's business, including environmental reviews and construction authorizations of these projects, can continue without action from the commissioners.

Cicio said he was worried that there would not be enough gas pipeline capacity to supply U.S. manufacturing and power generation demand, now that the U.S. Department of Energy has given authorization for a total of 16.2 Bcf/d of LNG exports to non-free trade agreement countries and 49 Bcf/d to free trade agreement countries, according to the letter.

"IECA is an important stakeholder because our ability to maintain and increase manufacturing jobs is completely dependent upon an increase in the deliverability of the supply of natural gas," Cicio wrote.