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Guide to the Collection of California Coastal Commission Liquefied Natural Gas Files
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Important Information for Researchers
  • Historical Background
  • Bibliography
  • Collection Scope and Content Summary
  • Collection Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: California Coastal Commission Liquefied Natural Gas files
    Date: 1970-1983,
    Date (bulk): bulk 1977-1978
    Collection Number: MS-R140
    Creator: California Coastal Commission
    Extent: 3.6 linear feet (9 boxes)
    Languages: The collection is in English.
    Repository: University of California, Irvine. Library. Special Collections and Archives.
    Irvine, California 92623-9557
    Abstract: The California Coastal Commission Liquefied Natural Gas files contain reports, correspondence, court records, newspaper clippings and miscellaneous files relating to liquefied natural gas (LNG) sites proposed by several public utility companies in 1972. The California Coastal Commission was created through the California Coastal Act to prevent the privatization of California's beaches through the regulation of land and water use in the coast. At the time of the LNG proposals the California Coastal Commission was the state authority for approving and permitting rights for LNG terminals.

    Important Information for Researchers


    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    California Coastal Commission Liquefied Natural Gas files. MS-R140. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California. Date accessed.
    For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

    Acquisition Information

    Transferred from the UCI Libraries Government Documents Division, date unknown.

    Processing History

    Processed by Joanna Lamb, 2008.

    Historical Background

    The California Coastal Commission was established by voter initiative in 1972 to identify and prevent ecological and environmental dangers threatening California's coastal landscape and to protect coastal land from privatization. Since the California Legislature passed the California Coastal Act of 1976, the Coastal Commission has planned and regulated the use of land and water in the coastal zone through reviews of local and federal government programs and activities.
    In the late 1960s, declining domestic natural gas reserves resulting from federal price controls on interstate gas led some U.S. utility firms to explore Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) imports as an alternative source of natural gas. Western LNG Terminal Company, Pacific Gas and Electric, and El Paso Natural Gas Company proposed to build and employ LNG import facilities at multiple California coastal sites in 1972. The Port of Los Angeles, Oxnard, and Point Conception were first identified as prospective LNG Terminal sites; however, the three state agencies involved with siting authority: the California Coastal Commission, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and the California Energy Commission were unable to approve the sites because of conflicts of interest stemming from environmental and safety concerns of the Coastal Commission.
    The LNG Terminal Siting Act of 1977 was passed by California legislature to prevent a stalemate and increase the likelihood of site approval allowing for permitting of proposed LNG Terminal sites. The new law gave state siting authority for the project to CPUC, while simultaneously acknowledging environmental concerns by granting the Coastal Commission the task of identifying and ranking proposed sites that would mitigate environmental damage. The Coastal Commission initially evaluated 82 sites, and found only four met the strict population density standards and other protective criteria that they had established regarding wind and wave conditions, earthquake hazards, and soil conditions. Of these four, the Point Conception site was conditionally approved by the CPUC despite concerns about minimal seismic risks in the area.
    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) (formerly the FCP) also granted conditional approval of the Point Conception site. However, project opponents appealed FERC's approval, and the Federal courts remanded the case back to FERC for reconsideration of seismic risk factors. Although the Point Conception site eventually regained conditional approval from FERC in 1983, the project was ultimately abandoned. The utility companies were forced to acknowledge that the project was no longer economically viable after Congress passed the Natural Gas Policy in 1978, which lifted price controls on domestic natural gas discovered after 1977 and diminished the cost of domestic LNG.

    Biography/Organization History


    1972 Several public utilities announce plans to import LNG
    1972 The California Coastal Commission established by voter initiative
    1976 California Legislature adopts the California Coastal Act and makes permanent the California Coastal Commission as we know it today
    1977 California Legislation passes the LNG Terminal Siting Act of 1977
    1978 U.S. Congress passes Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978
    1983 FERC gives conditional approval to the Point Conception LNG Project site


    California Coastal Commission. California coastal commission home page. Available from http://www.coastal.ca.gov/ (accessed December 10, 1978).
    California Energy Commission, and Mignon Marks. 2003. Liquefied natural gas in California: History, risks, and siting. http://www.energy.ca.gov/reports/2003-07-17_700-03-005.PDF (accessed December 10, 2008).
    National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. 2005. The need for effective and forthright communication planning for LNG siting: A checklist for state public utility commissions. http://fossil.energy.gov/programs/oilgas/publications/lng/LNG_NARUC_communication_lngfacsiting.pdf (accessed December 15, 2008).
    Weems, Phillip R., and Kevin D. Keenan. 2002. Greenfield LNG import terminal approvals. LNG Journal (May-June 2002), http://www.kslaw.com/library/pdf/GreenfieldLNGTerminals.pdf (accessed December 16, 2008).

    Collection Scope and Content Summary

    This collection comprises records assembled by the California Coastal Commission and associated with proposed LNG Terminal Site Projects in the 1970s. The bulk of this collection includes reports that were collected or created by the California Coastal Commission. Additionally the collection includes correspondence, LNG Terminal court records, miscellaneous LNG files, and LNG related newspaper clippings.

    Collection Arrangement

    This collection is arranged in alphabetical order by material type.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    California Coastal Commission - - Archives
    Coastal zone management -- California -- Archives
    Liquefied natural gas -- California -- Archives