Tag Archives: Oregon LNG

STATE APPEALS BOARD AGREES WITH CLATSOP COUNTY’S DECISION THAT AN LNG PIPELINE WOULD THREATEN PUBLIC SAFETY, HARM SALMON

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

Pipeline Safety a Concern at Oregon LNG Meeting

About fifty citizens were in attendance on January 29, 2015 at the Cabin in Vernonia during what was billed as an informational meeting hosted by the State of Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

The project is being proposed by Oregon LNG and Oregon Pipeline, two related corporations that are currently seeking permits for the liquid natural gas processing project.

The project and permits are currently under review by several regulatory agencies.

OLNG,DEQMeeting-Crowd-webLocal citizens asked questions and raised concerns about the safety of a proposed natural gas high pressure pipeline that could be constructed near the Vernonia community and the accompanying export terminal in Warrenton.

The meeting was held to discuss the 401 water quality certification process for the Oregon LNG project which includes the export terminal and the eighty-five mile pipeline which crosses Columbia, Tillamook, and Clatsop Counties.  Citizens were encouraged to ask questions and provide comments on the proposed project, specifically relating to water quality.  According to the public notice inviting citizens to attend, the meeting was not intended to answer technical questions about the project.

Sara Christensen, DEQ’s 401 Water Quality Certification Coordinator, and Jennifer Purcell, Regional Coordinator for DEQ, were part of a panel who fielded questions from the audience.  The panel also included Mike Turaski, Chief of Portland Permits Section and Richard Chong, Project Manager, both from the US Army Corps of Engineers and Patrick Wingard from the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development.

The audience included Vernonia Mayor Josette Mitchell, Vernonia City Councilor Jill Hult, a representative  from US House Representative Suzanne Bonamici’s office and Dan Serres, Conservation Director for Columbia Riverkeeper, an environmental watch dog group which has been following this project for many years.  No representative from Columbia County or state representative or senator’s offices were in attendance.

The six billion dollar project, in development since 2004, would include an LNG export terminal in Warrenton.  The project proposes taking natural gas obtained from Canada through the controversial method of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” and transporting it across Washington through an expanded Williams Northwest Pipeline.  The pipeline would cross the Columbia River near Columbia City, OR and Woodland, WA and then traverse Columbia County in a thirty-six inch pipeline.  At the Warrenton plant the natural gas would be converted to liquefied natural gas in order to be shipped to potential Asian markets. Read More

DEQ Announces Informational Meeting on Oregon LNG in Vernonia

DEQ has announced it will host two informational meetings on a 401 water quality certification for the proposed Oregon LNG pipeline project. DEQ will hold the meetings in Vernonia on Thursday, January 29 at 6:00 PM at the Cabin in Vernonia. DEQ will also host a meeting in Warrenton on Tuesday, January 27.

DEQ’s public comment period on the proposed Oregon LNG 401 water quality certification application has been extended and now closes on Monday, February 16, 2015.

The proposed thirty-six inch pipeline would travel just northwest of Vernonia.  It would connect with the Williams Pipeline in Woodland Washington, crossing the Columbia River into Oregon near Dear Island and travel across Columbia and Clatsop Counties.  The total length of proposed pipe in Oregon is eighty-six miles.  The pipeline would transport natural gas from Canada through Washington to a proposed terminal in Warrenton, OR, where the gas would be sold and shipped overseas, most likely to Asian markets.

Marilyn Tatman lives on 32 acres at the end of Creekview Lane off Keasey Road.  The proposed pipeline would cross Rock Creek along the eastern property line of the Tatman’s property, four miles above Vernonia. The Tatmans are one of the few small private property owners directly affected by the proposed route of the pipeline.  The proposed route mostly travels along roads and across some timberland.

Tatman says she is concerned for several reasons including possible environmental degradation as well as safety concerns.

Among Tatman’s chief concerns is the fact that the pipeline crosses Rock Creek, the water source for the City of Vernonia as well as numerous residents along the water route.  “We pump our water out of Rock Creek and so do a lot of other people below where the pipeline would cross,” says Tatman.   Read More

DEQ Announces Informational Meeting on Oregon LNG in Vernonia

DEQ has announced it will host two informational meetings on a 401 water quality certification for the proposed Oregon LNG project. DEQ will hold the meetings in Vernonia on Thursday, January 29 at 6:00 PM at the Cabin in Vernonia. DEQ will also host a meeting in Warrenton on Tuesday January 27.

DEQ’s public comment period on the proposed Oregon LNG 401 water quality certification application has been extended and now closes on Monday, Feb 16, 2015.

The proposed pipeline would travel just north of Vernonia.

A 401 water quality certification is required for any federally licensed or permitted projects that may result in a discharge into navigable waters. Specifically, DEQ provides the certification to ensure that work permitted under a federal Clean Water Act Section 404 Dredge/Fill Permit will meet state water quality standards. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issues the Section 404 Dredge/Fill Permit.

The purpose of the upcoming informational meetings is to provide the public with an opportunity to ask questions about DEQ’s 401 water quality certification process. Representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Oregon Department of State Lands and the Oregon Department of Land Conservation & Development also will attend the meetings.  Read More