Today the Coast Guard published in the Federal Register (77 FR 70886-70891) a final rule outlining a separate process for reconsideration of letters of recommendation (LORs) by the Coast Guard concerning the siting of liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied hazardous gas (LHG). The LORs are provided to Federal, State, or local government agencies having jurisdiction for siting, construction, and operation of the facility by the Captain of the Port (COTP) providing the Coast Guard’s assessment of the suitability of the waterway for LNG or LHG marine traffic.
I described the reason for the rule and the process proposed when the NPRM was issued back in December of last year. There were only two comments received concerning the NPRM and both disagreed with the basis of Coast Guard’s proposal of this rule. Those comments from two State agencies in Rhode Island can be found on the Federal eRulemaking Portal (www.Regulations.gov; Docket # USCG-2011-0227). In response the preamble provides additional discussion about why the Coast Guard does not consider the LOR to be either a ‘final agency action’ or a ‘major federal action’.
There was a minor change made to the final rule specifically adding “Indian tribal government” as one of the agencies that has a specific authority to request a reconsideration of a published LOR.
The final rule will be effective on December 28th, 2012 and will only apply to LOR’s issued after that date.