WASHINGTON, June 20 (UPI) -- The last regulatory milestone was cleared to start building a $9 million liquefied natural gas terminal in Louisiana, Sempra Energy announced.
Sempra said its subsidiary, Cameron LNG, received authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission build and operate a gas plant and export facility at its existing terminal in Hackberry, La.
Debra Reed, chairwoman and chief executive officer at Sempra, said the "landmark project" is now one step closer to "delivering natural gas to America's trading partners abroad."
The FERC decision was the final step in the regulatory process needed to export LNG to countries that don't have a free trade agreement with the United States.
A special permit weighs LNG exports to non-FTA countries against the public interest. Critics of LNG exports say it would lead to higher domestic energy prices and more hydraulic fracturing, the controversial drilling practice used in shale resource areas.
FERC in May said the construction and operation would result in some environmental damage, but that damage would be rendered "less-than-significant" by the company's proposed mitigation strategies.
The terminal would have the capacity to liquefy and export 14.95 million tons of natural gas from the United States per day.