Tag Archives: Columbia Riverkeeper


Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals Upholds Clatsop County’s Decision Denying Gas Pipeline for Proposed Columbia River Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal

A state appeals board agreed with Clatsop County’s decision that a liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline would threaten public safety and improperly harm protected rivers and farmland. 

Today the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) ruled in favor of Clatsop County, upholding the County’s decision to deny a key permit for the Oregon LNG pipeline. Without the critical land use permit, the proposed LNG pipeline cannot be built, as state law prohibits the LNG company from securing state environmental permits or certifications without county land use permits.

“We are thrilled that LUBA chose to respect our county’s decision to deny Oregon LNG’s proposed natural gas export pipeline,” said Laurie Caplan, an Astoria resident and local activist representing Columbia Pacific Common Sense.

In today’s decision, LUBA ruled that Clatsop County properly decided that the LNG pipeline violates local laws designed to protect public safety and salmon. The County found that the pipeline operates with pressurized flammable and explosive gases that present a well-documented safety risk to nearby residential uses. The County also found that Oregon LNG’s plans to bore the pipeline under salmon-bearing rivers violated the requirement to protect the Columbia River estuary, an area at the center of regional and national efforts to recover endangered salmon.

“Today’s decision marks a significant turning point for LNG on the Columbia River,” stated Brett VandenHeuvel, Executive Director for Columbia Riverkeeper. “The people of Clatsop County want clean water, safe communities, and strong salmon runs. LNG development would take us in the wrong direction.” Read More

Activists Rally Against LNG

Local activists and citizens met on Thursday, March 12 to discuss the Oregon LNG and Oregon Pipeline projects.

The meeting was organized and moderated by Steve Calhoun, along with his son Michael,  to raise awareness within the community about the projects and included several guest speakers.  The discussion focused on ways to organize and oppose the projects and on making sure locals understand that they have a voice in whether they are constructed or not.

The Oregon LNG and Oregon Pipeline projects propose to transport fracked natural gas from Canada across Washington and Oregon in a high pressure, thirty-six inch pipeline, to a terminal in Warrenton, OR where it would be converted to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and exported to overseas markets.  The pipeline travels across Columbia County through mostly private timberland and crosses Rock Creek about five miles above the intake to the City of Vernonia’s water plant.

Some of the most pertinent concerns about the projects include water quality degradation and damage to critical salmon habitat, and public safety and the risk to residents in the event of an accident.

Dan Serres of Columbia Riverkeeper addressed a crowd of local activists concerned about LNG projects.

Dan Serres of Columbia Riverkeeper addressed a crowd of local activists concerned about LNG projects.

Among the guest speakers was Dan Serres, Conservation Director at Columbia Riverkeeper, who has been opposing LNG projects in Oregon for ten years.  Serres provided an overview of what he called “one of the most controversial projects in all of Oregon,” and told the audience that the one way to stop the projects was to stop the terminal in Warrenton.  “Without the terminal there is no pipeline,” said Serres.  He also pointed out that both State and Federal regulatory agencies need to approve the projects before it can move forward.  Serres explained that FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) will say yes to this so it is important for local citizens to be heard by state agencies and legislators.  Serres encouraged locals to organize together to oppose the project.

Maggie Peyton, Executive Director of the Upper Nehalem Watershed Council (UNWC), told the audience that her organization has been working to restore salmon habitat in the region for twenty-six years and that she sees no real benefit for the local population from the projects.  In addition to her concerns about water quality in the rivers, streams and wetlands the pipeline would cross and its  impact on local salmon populations, Peyton also expressed reservations about the  continued dependence on fossil fuels,  the ability of local emergency responders to handle accidents or natural disasters, and the effects on water quality from deforestation in the region.  She said she is also highly concerned about the potential damage from a predicted large subduction zone earthquake.   Read More

What You Need to Know About Oregon LNG

A conversation with Dan Serres of Columbia Riverkeeper

Conversation-DanSerres-webDan Serres is the Conservation Director with Columbia Riverkeeper, an environmental organization that works to protect the Columbia River,  its fish and wildlife,  and the people that depend on it.  On January 29, 2015 Serres spoke at an informational meeting in Vernonia hosted by Oregon DEQ concerning the Oregon LNG and Oregon Pipeline projects.  The projects would transport natural gas in a thirty-six inch pipeline from Canada across Washington and Oregon to be exported from a terminal in Warrenton.  The pipeline crosses local timberland and numerous streams and rivers including Rock Creek five miles above the drinking water intake for the City of Vernonia.  On February 26 Serres met with local activists in Vernonia during an organizational meeting to discuss the project.  Vernonia’s Voice met with Serres prior to that meeting to talk about the Oregon LNG and Oregon Pipeline projects.


Vernonia’s Voice: Can you give us some background and the history of this Oregon LNG project?

Dan Serres: Oregon LNG came to Oregon in 2004.  There had been a proposal by Calpine previous to that in Humbolt Bay in California and they were run out by commercial fisherman who didn’t want an LNG terminal that would disrupt commercial fishing there.  So they moved very quickly and quietly north and came to the Columbia River.  They secured a sublease with the Port of Astoria.  At that time they were talking about importing Liquefied Natural Gas, (LNG), and there was no pipeline, just a big terminal plunked down in the middle of Warrenton.  

It was very controversial because people felt like the decision was made behind closed doors without much public knowledge.  In the meantime, Calpine went bankrupt in 2007 and the project was bought by Leucadia National Corporation, a private equity firm in New York, who now fully own it.  They changed the name to Oregon LNG and proposed adding a very large pipeline which would run through Clatsop County, down through Washington and Yamhill Counties, across Marion and Clackamas Counties to Molalla.  

That was the import part of the project with big storage tanks in Warrenton and big tankers coming into the Columbia River.  At that time the promoters of the project were saying that North America was running out of natural gas and we absolutely need to be importing LNG or natural gas prices are going to spike.  That was totally, absolutely wrong.  The same people are now trying to sell us the idea that we have so much natural gas that we need to be liquefying it and exporting it all over the world. They made both those arguments within five years with equal passion and conviction.

The import part of the project faced really fierce opposition in Clatsop County and then equally fierce opposition along the pipeline route in communities like Yamhill, Gaston, Forest Grove, and Molalla.  Farmers, timberland owners, and fisherman organized and teamed up with conservation groups like us.  It was sort of unusual because those groups don’t normally agree on anything, but we were all on the same page.  People did an incredible job of creating political will to say no to LNG and defend their properties by really focusing on stopping the terminals and using the absurd  idea of running these pipeline projects through farms, through really steep and rugged territory and salmon bearing streams.   Read More

Two Public Hearing on Coal Export to be Held in Columbia County

Two important coal export hearings will be held on May 6th in Columbia County concerning plans to Export and ship coal through Columbia County.  Columbia Riverkeeper and their local partners at Clean Columbia County  have asked that citizens attend one of the two meetings,based on where you live in the county.

1. If you live in Scappoose, please attend the Scappoose City Council Hearing.

WHEN: Monday, May 6 (7PM)

WHERE: Scappoose High School Auditorium, 33700 SE High School Way, Scappoose, OR

The City Council will be considering two resolutions – one pertaining to the Kinder Morgan Project and another pertaining to Ambre’s Morrow-Pacific Project. The Ambre resolution may favor transforming Columbia County’s waterfront into a coal barge parking lot and transloading facility for over 2,500 coal barges annually. Please consider providing oral and written testimony to the City Council regarding these projects. Read More