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Capital Report

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November 2014 Issue

Budget Cuts Lead to Closing Of US Coast Guard Air Facility
The U.S. Coast Guard is slated to close its air facility in Newport, Oregon, on November 30. The change comes as a result of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 that authorized the service to close the facility in light of ongoing resource reductions.

Through targeted investment over the past decade, the Coast Guard has significantly improved its search and rescue response posture. Specifically, the deployment of the Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 communications and distress calling system has provided improved detection capability and effectiveness in locating mariners in distress. This system, along with other improvements in maritime survival equipment, has increased the chances of survival, location and safe recovery for those in peril at sea.

The Coast Guard will continue to maintain air operations along the Oregon shores at Air Station North Bend, with three MH-65 Dolphin helicopters, and at Air Station Astoria, with three MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters.

“In these extraordinarily challenging fiscal times, the Coast Guard continuously evaluates how best to allocate limited resources while addressing the most pressing risks,” said RAdm. Richard Gromlich, commander, Coast Guard 13th District.

“I’m confident that the advancements in our search and rescue system over the past decade will continue to enable our crews to effectively protect and assist mariners across the Northwest.”


Virginia Governor Completes 2014 State Energy Plan
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has completed the 2014 Virginia Energy Plan, NOIA reported. The report highlights four themes: strategic growth in the energy sector, including offshore oil and gas; expanded infrastructure; advanced vehicle technology and alternative fuels; and workforce training.

Of particular note is the governor’s support for new offshore access being contingent upon creation of a federal-state revenue-sharing program. This position is shared by both of Virginia’s U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.

The report’s recommendations with regard to offshore oil and gas include: pursuit of the development of Virginia’s offshore oil and gas resources in a safe manner that is protective of Virginia’s coastal environment and its broad economic and ecologic base; full support of the development of oil and natural gas resources off Virginia’s coast contingent upon a revenue-sharing agreement being reached between the federal government and Virginia; advocacy for the inclusion of Virginia’s portion of the Mid-Atlantic Planning Area in the U.S. Department of the Interior’s 2017 to 2022 Five-Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program; a readiness study to determine Virginia’s ability to sustain any potential offshore oil and gas exploration and development industry; and support for efforts at the federal level to ensure that revenue sharing between the federal government and Virginia will be a component of any future potential oil and gas development off the Virginia coast.


FERC Authorizes Dominion Cove Point LNG Exports
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authorized Dominion Cove Point LNG (Lusby, Maryland) to construct and operate facilities to liquefy and export domestically produced natural gas from its existing LNG import terminal located in Lusby.

FERC also authorized the installation of additional compression at Dominion’s existing Pleasant Valley Compressor Station and upgrades of related facilities located in Fairfax and Loudon counties, Virginia, to accommodate the delivery of gas to the LNG terminal.

FERC staff conducted an environmental assessment (EA) of the proposed facilities, which will be located in the existing Dominion Cove Point LNG import terminal. The EA analyzed the potential environmental impacts of the facilities, including those addressing wetlands, vegetation, threatened and endangered species, land use, air quality, noise, and public safety. FERC concluded that, with the conditions imposed, the Cove Point Liquefaction Project results in minimal environmental impacts and can be operated safely.

FERC’s authorization will enable Dominion Cove Point to liquefy and export up to approximately 5.75 million metric tons of gas each year via LNG ships that would dock at its existing offshore pier.

Dominion Cove Point proposes to complete construction so that the LNG export terminal can start service in June 2017. Construction of the related Virginia facilities would begin in 2016 and would be in service by March 2017.

FERC has approved three other LNG export projects, all in the Gulf of Mexico: the Sabine Pass Liquefaction Project, the Freeport LNG Project and the Cameron LNG Project. Fourteen LNG export proposals are pending.


President Obama Expands Pacific Marine Monument
U.S. President Barack Obama designated the largest marine reserve in the world that is completely off limits to commercial resource extraction, including commercial fishing and deep-sea mining. The proclamation expands the existing Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to six times its current size, resulting in 370,000 square nautical miles of protected area around these tropical islands and atolls in the south-central Pacific Ocean. Expanding the monument will more fully protect the deep coral reefs, seamounts and marine ecosystems unique to this part of the world, which are also among the most vulnerable areas to the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification. The National Climate Assessment confirms that climate change is causing sea levels and ocean temperatures to rise. Changing temperatures can harm coral reefs and force certain species to migrate. Carbon pollution is being absorbed by the oceans, causing them to acidify, which can damage coastal shellfish beds and reefs, altering entire marine ecosystems.

The expanded monument will continue to be managed by the Departments of the Interior and Commerce through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA, respectively. The agencies will develop management plans pursuant to their respective authorities under the Antiquities Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery and Conservation Management Act, and other relevant authorities to ensure proper care and management of the monument.



2014:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV
2013:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

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