Environmental Protection

Coast Guard Taking Comments on Houston LHG Facility Expansions

Two companies with existing terminals located on the Houston Ship Channel have filed letters of intent and Waterways Suitability Assessments for their planned Liquefied Hazardous Gas facility expansions.

The U.S. Coast Guard has published a notice seeking public comments on two proposed expansion projects involving Liquefied Hazardous Gas (LHG) facilities located on the Houston Ship Channel. Both Intercontinental Terminals Company LLC and Vopak have filed the necessary letters of intent and Waterways Suitability Assessment, according to the USCG notice, which says comments may be submitted for the next 30 days (www.regulations.gov, Docket No. USCG-2013-0686).

The letter is required to be submitted to the Captain of the Port of the zone where the facility owner or operators intends to build a new marine terminal, or expand or modify an existing one, that will increase the size or frequency of LHG or liquefied natural gas marine traffic on the waterway associated with that facility. The Captain of the Port then issues a letter of recommendation on the suitability of the waterway for the additional traffic, taking into account safety and security issues and other issues.

The Coast Guard's notice says the agency will refer to its own January 2011 Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular 01-2011, "Guidance Related to Waterfront Liquefied Natural Gas Facilities," in evaluating the proposed Intercontinental Terminals Company and Vopak projects.

Intercontinental Terminals Company LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc. Vopak is headquartered in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and operates storage tank terminals around the world. Houston is the headquarters of Vopak Americas.

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