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Five more interstate natural gas transportation and storage projects will receive environmental impact statements from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, another sign the commission is turning toward the more extensive environmental reviews as it sorts out how to assess climate impacts.

The unfolding approach could mean a longer review timeline for midstream gas infrastructure. Public comment periods are required for FERC environmental impact statements, and they have longer average review times compared with the less intense FERC environmental assessments.

FERC Chairman Richard Glick and Commissioner Allison Clements have suggested that additional up-front vetting of projects and analysis could avoid protracted legal battles further down the line. FERC approvals of interstate gas pipeline projects have faced many legal challenges, including some questioning the adequacy of the commission’s assessment of climate impacts.

The review plans for the five projects followed the direction set by FERC in May. The commission said it would conduct supplemental environmental impact statements for a handful of pending gas projects that had already received their environmental assessments. The expanded environmental reviews would help the commission consider the projects’ climate impacts and determine whether they are in the public convenience and necessity, FERC said.

[Maya Weber]

More: FERC expands environmental reviews for 5 more gas infrastructure projects

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