A coalition including fishing, public health, property
rights, and conservation groups criticized a draft environmental review issued this
week by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the proposed liquefied
natural gas terminal and pipeline in the Columbia River estuary.
FERC staff prepared the draft EIS for the “Oregon LNG
Terminal and Pipeline Project (Oregon LNG Project) and Washington Expansion
LNG Development Company, LLC is requesting authorization to
site, construct, and operate an onshore, import/export liquefied natural gas
terminal and associated facilities on the East Bank Skipanon Peninsula in
The proposed terminal includes feed gas pretreatment,
liquefaction, and regasification facilities; two 160,000-cubic-meter LNG
storage tanks; a turning basin; and berth for one LNG carrier.
The terminal would have a base load liquefaction capacity of
9.6 million tons per year and a base load regasification capacity of 0.5
billion cubic feet per day.
Oregon Pipeline Company, LLC is requesting a Certificate of
Public Convenience and Necessity to construct and operate an 86.8-mile-long, 36
inch diameter bidirectional pipeline to transport natural gas to and from the
terminal to interconnect with the interstate transmission system of Northwest
Pipeline LLC, near Woodland, Washington; and construct a single electrically
driven compressor station in Columbia County, Oregon.
FERC refers LNG Development Company, LLC and Oregon Pipeline
Company, LLC collectively as Oregon LNG.
The groups opposing the project called on Oregon’s Gov. Kate
Brown to deny key state permits for the project “in light of FERC’s failure to
consider the best available science on LNG’s impacts to public health and
safety, endangered salmon, and the economy.”
Cheryl Johnson, a Clatsop County resident and retired school
librarian, stated, “Our community has spoken loud and clear in opposition to
LNG. We are looking to Governor Brown to stand up for the best interests of
Oregonians and deny state permits for this misguided project. FERC’s
rubberstamp approach to LNG development demands bold leadership to protect what
we value: safe communities, strong salmon runs, and clean water.”
In the draft environmental impact statement, FERC concludes
that the project would cause adverse impacts to the environment, which the
company can reduce through mitigation and engineering.
Clatsop County, Oregon has denied key permits for Oregon
LNG’s pipeline based on threats to public safety and local rivers.
Meanwhile, a federal judge ruled this week, in Oregon LNG’s
lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, that the Corps has a valid
legal right to use the proposed terminal property to deposit dredge spoils.
Unless the Corps is willing to forfeit the right, Oregon LNG cannot build the
“The Corps vigorously defended this lawsuit to protect a
valuable public property right and the court got it right,” stated Miles
Johnson, Clean Water Attorney for Columbia Riverkeeper. “The court’s ruling
could spell the end to Oregon LNG’s ten-year effort to site one of the most
destructive, dangerous projects we’ve ever seen proposed on the Columbia
“Putting a massive LNG terminal in the heart of the lower
Columbia’s most popular commercial and recreational fishery undermines decades
of work to protect fishing opportunities in the lower Columbia River,” said Dan
Marvin, a longtime Columbia River commercial fisherman. “On top of this, our
region has invested billions of dollars in restoring salmon habitat. FERC has
its head in the sand when it concludes this project won’t have a significant
impact on our livelihoods.”
Oregon LNG’s dredging alone would destroy critical habitat
for twelve stocks of endangered and threatened salmon and steelhead, contend the
Regarding impacts on species listed under the Endangered
Species Act, the draft EIS says consultations with U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service and National Marine Fisheries Service are in progress.
“Many of these species have designated critical habitat
(habitats that are considered to be essential
for the recovery of the species) that are crossed by the
project and one species has proposed critical habitat. We are in the process of
completing our Biological Assessment, our consultation
with FWS and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is in
progress, and our final
determination regarding the effects on species is pending.
Therefore, we are recommending that
no ground disturbance occur until we have completed our
Section 7 Endangered Species Act
consultation with the FWS and NMFS before Oregon LNG and
Northwest proceed with
Comments on the draft EIS http://www.ferc.gov/industries/gas/enviro/eis/2015/08-05-15-eis.asp
must be received in Washington, DC on or before October 6,
2015. Once the final EIS is issued, the FERC Commissioners will take into
consideration staff’s recommendations when the Commission makes a decision on
-- CBB, May 1, 2015, “Oregon Land Use Board Denies Columbia
River Estuary Liquefied Natural Gas Pipeline Appeal” http://www.cbbulletin.com/433880.aspx
-- CBB, Feb. 13, 2015, “Comments On Proposed LNG Terminal In
Columbia River Estuary Suggest Harm To Salmon Habitat” http://www.cbbulletin.com/433153.aspx