portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article announcements oregon & cascadia

corporate dominance | economic justice | energy & nuclear

Want to keep LNG off the Columbia River?

We all need to learn everything we can about the LNG caper. This is a very big deal.

The May 19 meeting with another of the pirate corporations, this one known as "Northern Star Natural Gas", out of Houston, Texas, with a fake office in Tigard, will be ramping out the guys in suits (or jeans, whatever they think will see the best), and will be dazzling us with powerpoints, in the Knappa High School gymnasium. Representatives from FERC will tbe there, too--woohoo!

Our counter presentation needs you.

Reclaim the Commons
Take it Back
Seeds Will Grow
Where the Emprie Cracks.
Below is a part of a forward concerning the ODE meeting on May 19th. I can't believe the line up they have put together for this "little event."

5:30 to 7:00 Knappa High library
Open House hosted by Northern Star Natural Gas, informal project information and Q&A
-NSNG CEO, President and other members of the development team on hand to answer questions
-presentation on river navigation traffic control system put on by the Columbia River Pilots
-presentation on physical properties of liquified natural gas
-video on liquified natural gas transportation and storage
-maps, site plans, and general information available on proposed Bradwood site

7:00 to 9:00 Knappa High gymnasium
Oregon Department of Energy public information meeting
-ODE will explain the state's review process and how the public can participate
-invite Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to explain its role in siting the proposed liquified natural gas facility
-hear public comments, questions and concerns on the proposed facility
-ask Northern Star Natural Gas to answer questions from the public

Whatever you do, don't tell them we will be there w. 2 folding tables, some handouts, a few posters stuck up w. masking tape and oh yes, a nice librarian in a corduroy jumper.

Go to www.columbiarivervision.org for more information--
Big Environmental Issue 07.May.2005 10:55


Washington, activists argue a 'new' energy

Plans to build LNG facilities have raised environmental concerns and questions about who has jurisdiction.

By Ron Scherer | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. - There are shad that use Long Island Sound like a migration expressway, finicky lobsters that hide in its crevices, and delicate oysters that thrive in its muck. Egrets patrol its shoreline, and ospreys soar over the bays. It's a body of water that should defy "industrialization" - at least that's the way Adrienne Esposito, an environmental activist, sees the 1,380-square-mile body of water.
But the waves of the sound lap on two states with some of the nation's highest energy rates. And last year, some 687 commercial vessels navigated its shoals and channels without serious incident. So, as energy executive John Hritcko sees it, the sound is the perfect place to moor a barge that will offload liquefied natural gas (LNG) that may help to solve a regional energy problem.

The two sides represent one of the latest clashes over the environment, as well as states' rights.

With the nation paying dearly for its power consumption, large energy corporations would like to build 30 to 40 LNG terminals in the United States, mostly in coastal communities. But such ideas are meeting with resistance at every step of the way. Any day now, for example, a federal appeals court in California is expected to issue an important ruling on who has jurisdiction over California's waters to site potential LNG terminals. And, both the president in recent speeches and Congress in pending energy legislation are getting involved - at a time when natural gas prices are close to an all-time high.

"This is a debate that needs to happen," says James Hoecker, who was chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) during the Clinton administration and is now a partner at the law firm Vinson & Elkins in Washington. "It will be helpful that Congress has decided to express what it believes national policy ought to be."

In testimony before the Senate earlier this year, J. Mark Robinson, a FERC official, said that "timely consideration of LNG projects can be made impossible" because of the complex rules laid down by multiple federal and state agencies. He asked that FERC be made the lead agency for all environmental reviews and that state agencies cooperate with FERC's timetable. If another federal or state agency didn't make a decision within FERC's schedule, it would result in the assumed waiver of that agency's authority.

The energy bill pending before the House does make FERC the lead agency. The legislation also specifies that "FERC would be required to actively consult with the states to consider state and local safety priorities."

So far, there is only one Senate bill on LNG siting, which is sponsored by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) of Tennessee. It too makes FERC the lead agency, but it also sets a one-year deadline for making decisions on each project.

Alexia Poe, a spokeswoman for Senator Alexander, says, "He does not want local gridlock but does not want state and local governments to be bulldozed by the federal government. States' rights are very important to him."

Maintaining states' rights is vital to groups around the nation that are opposed to the terminals. "I don't trust the federal government, but I do trust the state," says Jon Cooper, a Suffolk County lawmaker opposed to the LNG terminal on eastern Long Island. His views are echoed from Maine to Oregon, where bloggers worry about the impact of a proposed LNG terminal on sport fishing.

The battle over LNG terminals is not surprising, says Linda Key Breathitt, a former FERC commissioner. "Whether a nuclear facility or a new refinery or a new transmission line or windmills or anything, it seems that anything that has to do with energy has to be heavily scrutinized because there is no perfect location," says Ms. Breathitt, now a senior energy and regulatory consultant at the law firm Thelen Reid & Priest in Washington.

The developers of the Long Island project, called Broadwater Energy, which is a joint venture between Shell and TransCanada Corp., hope they've found something close to the perfect location - about nine miles from Long Island and 11 miles from Connecticut. "We know it's a sensitive area, so that's why we located it midsound, which is much better than either shoreline," says Mr. Hritcko, a senior vice president at Broadwater.

Broadwater has consulted with lobstermen, hired marine biologists, and done sonar and soil surveys. It has hired influential consultants - in this case the former county executive, Bob Gafney, as well as Rudolph Giuliani's firm, which is working on the security aspect. It has held open houses and even met with opponents.

But Broadwater's plan doesn't impress Ms. Esposito, executive director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment. At a recent public forum here, she raised a host of issues, from the shad to the prospect of flammable vapor clouds. If Broadwater is approved, she wonders if other companies will want a platform as well.

"We can't allow the industrialization of this body of water," she says. "We don't want that barge hanging out in the middle of the sound."

Bolivia's campesino resistance 08.May.2005 18:31

to LNG commercial export

Over 40,000 Bolivians took to the streets to protest LNG extraction and export. The LNG was headed for the US via a pipeline in Chile. The results of the protest led to the Bolivian president Sanchez de Lozada fleeing to the USA. This indicates he is a puppet president working in the interests of the LNG/energy corporations like Pacific Natural Gas..

Over 70 Bolivian campesinos were killed by military/police who attempted to break up roadblocks..

Whether the LNG is headed for CA or OR, it is being taken from underneath the feet of the Bolivian people against their wishes. A solidarity protest action in Oregon may eventually be seen by some Bolivian campesinos, strengthening their resolve to know their norte americano allies are fighting against the same corporations..

from corpwatch website;

"Destination: California
Pacific LNG, the consortium behind the project, is composed of the British multinationals BG Group and Pan-American Energy itself composed of BP and Bridas and the Spanish giant Repsol-YPF. The $5 billion gas export plan consists of a 700km pipeline from Bolivia to a port in Chile from where gas would be shipped to Mexico. There the shipment would be converted from its liquefied form back into a gas by the American company Sempra Energy Corp. and imported in California via a pipeline running from Baja California.

The San Diego-based Sempra has been in negotiations since December of 2001 with Pacific LNG for a 20-year contract amounting to $7 billion. Sempra has been criticized for gouging consumers during the California energy crisis by inflating the price of gas and still faces investigation by federal and state regulators. It has been rushing to build gas terminals in the US and Mexico in response to the high price of natural gas while opposition to its projects mounts from groups like Greenpeace Mexico.

BP, Repsol-YPF and the BG Group have similarly unsavory records. BP, formerly known as British Petroleum, has been accused by the European Parliament for complicity in human rights abuses by the military in Colombia, and has been involved in environmentally damaging projects all over the world."

 link to www.corpwatch.org

where's the strategy? 09.May.2005 12:05

politicus sal@electrobotanica.org

Simply opposing LNG terminals on the grounds that it is environmentally risky is a weak strategy. Many people, environmentalists even, heat their homes with natural gas for the good reason that it's a lot more efficient than electrical heating and less polluting than oil heating. Heat your home with a wood stove and you contribute to deforestation. Much additional natural gas generated electric capacity was brought online in the last decade on the grounds that it was more environmentally friendly than either coal or nuclear.

The US had a crisis in natural gas supply in the winter of 2003 so severe that a triage plan to shut down gas to customers was developed! With North America's natural gas going the way of the dodo, it's inevitable that LNG supply points will be setup along the coast and coastal water ways. Energy companies are simply reacting to the natural gas market going forward. It's a no brainer for them.

Knee-jerk environmentalism is just going to damage the environmental movement's credibility and eventually resign it to the political periphery.

Unfortunately, constructive strategy going forward requires a broad change which does not lend itself to simple jingoism like "oppose LNG ports!". Now, if there was a strategy targetting people's lifestyles, the national energy policy and new electrical capacity, then I'd be all for opposing LNG terminals. But in light of the lack of progress on those fronts, LNG opposition is pointless.

This is a problem more than 30 years in the making and evidenced even before the US peaked in natural gas production in the early 70's. I submit Jimmy Carter's 10 point energy plan:
 link to www.pbs.org
The changes required to protect our environment will be broad and unpopular.

LNG is not for cooking 09.May.2005 14:32

come to the meetings

development of LNG economy is about corporatizing and militaizing the Columbia River, not about providing Safe, clean, and needed"(sic)clean natural gas to our stoves and furnaces. It's about increasing our dependence on the lat of the fossil fuels, not about "environmentalism".

Check out www.columbiarivervision.org for links.

Putin is in thick with the US government on the LNG scam. This is all about the endless war on Terror.

Bradwood LNG plans draw anger 22.May.2005 09:46

Kate Ramsayer...The Daily Astorian kramsayer@dailyastorian.com

Bradwood LNG plans draw anger

The Daily Astorian

KATE RAMSAYER - The Daily Astorian
James Lewis of PTL Associates, Inc., performs demonstrations with LNG before the public meeting, as Northern Star Natural Gas CEO Si Garrett looks on.

Concerned citizens rap facility on Columbia River at public meeting; Northern Star Natural Gas submitted 'notice of intent'
KNAPPA The liquefied natural gas facility permitting process kicked off Thursday night, as residents of Wahkiakum, Wash. and Clatsop counties voiced a wide range of concerns to representatives of the state and federal energy agencies and to the project's developer, Northern Star Natural Gas.

The Oregon Department of Energy has received a "notice of intent" from Northern Star, which proposed building an LNG receiving terminal at Bradwood, a site northwest of Wauna and across the Columbia River from Puget Island.

Four companies have proposed LNG terminals along the lower Columbia, and Northern Star was the first to file with the state agency. To start its months-long permitting process, the energy department held a public informational meeting at Knappa High School.

The meeting served to give members of the public details about the state and federal permitting process, said Cathy Van Horn, the project manager with the state energy agency. It was also a chance for the agencies to hear from local residents and get local knowledge that will help officials decide what issues the company needs to address in its application.

"We're looking for comments that will help us," Van Horn told an audience of approximately 230.

Ted Messing addresses the audience at the Oregon Department of Energy-sponsored meeting in Knappa Thursday night.
KATE RAMSAYER-The Daily Astorian
Many people from Washington's Puget Island and Cathlamet, plus Clatsop County, had concerns for the agencies and energy company officials to consider.

"This LNG facility does not fit on the lower Columbia, and we don't need it," said Brownsmead's Ted Messing at the start of the public comment period. The facility would be built in a culturally significant area, disrupt the railway line, disturb fish and wildlife with the associated dredging, and bring with it the potential for a major accident, he said.

Tammy Maygra of Save our Columbia River raised the issue of the danger associated with bringing ships over the Columbia River Bar, and the potential economic impact on the area fisheries.

Comments on the Northern Star Natural Gas Notice of Intent are due to the Oregon Department of Energy by June 19. Mail comments or questions to Cathy Van Horn, 625 Marion St. SE, Salem OR 97302; call (503) 378-4041; fax to (503) 373-7806; or e-mail
( catherine.vanhorn@state.or.us)
Puget Island residents decried the potential impacts to their community. Many houses on the island would be within a mile of the proposed facility, and within view of it as well.

"Most of the liabilities fall to Wahkiakum," said Puget Island resident Carol Carver, who added that the tax benefits touted by the company would go to residents of Knappa and other Clatsop County communities. She asked that Wahkiakum County's land-use and shoreline planning rules be taken into consideration during the permitting process.

DiAnne Knudsen of Cathlamet said that the proposed LNG facility would be close to the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge and the Julia Butler Hanson National Wildlife Refuge, and brought up concerns that the LNG shipping traffic and the facility would harm the endangered animals living there.

"We cannot allow this to happen in a protected national wildlife refuge," Knudsen said.

Other island residents brought up issues of noise and light pollution, dredge spoil disposal, geologic instabilities, and the safety concerns associated with living less than a mile from the facility.

A handful of people spoke up in support of the facility.

Union business agent Bob Randolph said Northern Star had approached Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council and the Oregon Building Trades Council to work out a preliminary agreement to use union labor, one of the first he knew of to do that.

Knappa's Ben Bartlett said the project would bring good jobs and clean energy and add to the tax base. "We don't get opportunities like this. Think about it carefully," he said.

The energy department's Van Horn opened the meeting by describing the agency's permitting process. After reviewing Northern Star's notice of intent, and the comments from the public, the department will give the company a project order that describes what issues it should address in its application. After the company submits an application, which Northern Star expects to do in September, the energy agency will submit a draft proposed order. The public can comment on that as well.

Ultimately, the decision about whether to approve the siting of the facility is made by the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council, and based on a set of standards that the company has to show it can adhere to.

These standards are what the public should address when they make comments, Van Horn said.

Paul Friedman, the environmental project manager with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, also addressed the crowd. Northern Star has started the pre-filing process with FERC, and the federal agency will hold its own public scoping meeting in the future.

Northern Star officials made a presentation about their project at the meeting.

"We're here to listen to you, and will be listening to you for the coming months," said Northern Star Chief Executive Officer Si Garrett. The company will try to mitigate concerns and make changes in its plans where it can, he said.

The company will try to exceed the standards set for the project, said Gary Coppedge, vice president for permitting and development. The facility will take up 55 acres of a 420-acre parcel of land, and consist of two LNG storage tanks with the possibility of adding a third, as well as a regasification facility. It's needed because there's a shortage of natural gas in the Pacific Northwest that is driving prices up, he said.

Northern Star's project will create 500 construction jobs, and the company will set up special endowments or scholarships to train local people to work at the facility, he said.

"We would like this to benefit the community here, in both Oregon and Washington," Coppedge said.

What about the pipelines? 20.Aug.2005 09:37

Marjie Castle MarjieC1@aol.com

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this forum.

I am angry! I was open minded until these past 2 weeks. Now I'm dead set against this project. I truly feel this is another case of big business throwing their weight.

Take a look at Northern Star's web site. We are led to believe their pipeline would travel along highway 30 and cross the Columbia to intersect another line near Kalama. However, hundreds of us residents on the Washington side of the Columbia received letters followed by phone calls telling us the pipeline would cross OUR properties beginning at the Mill Creek area across from Port Westward (site of another proposed plant site). During conversations we are also told the other 3 plants will probably bring their individual pipelines through the same route. Northern Star's pipe will be 36 inches in diameter and carry enough pressurized gas to create an explosion 1 mile high as well as vaporize anything within a half mile radius. How would you like to have that running next to your house? We've already had 3 pipeline explosions in our state (including one in the Kalama area) that involved much smaller pipes. People comment back, "We have pipelines already running through our state and everything is fine." True, however, those pipes are not 36-inches with the same potential danger if nicked by equipment or damaged due to ground shift.

Northern Star tells everyone their site was chosen due to remoteness of the area. Remote by whose definition? They infer in our local papers that we need to attend the public meetings and become informed. We're not dimwitted and have attended every public meeting we've heard about. We HAVE researched, read, visited and learned about the process and we don't want it this far up the river and we don't want the pipelines through our property. I don't want to be vaporized and I DO want to sell my piece of heaven at some future date and receive fair market value. Anybody out there want to buy 5 beautiful acres with a 120 degree filtered view of the Columbia sitting across from the Port Westward proposed site with the potential of 4 36-inch highly pressurized natural gas lines crossing through it (by the way you can't build or grow anything within 100 feet of each line and YOU pay the property taxes)? Oh, and don't forget, you also drive over these 4 lines as well as an already existing 20-inch pipeline to get to your property and that was put in without your prior knowledge and input. The construction crew was unaware anyone even lived in the area.

Why should I want the potential of 4 of these pipes going through my property here on Mill Creek. What about our safety? What emergency evacuation routes have been considered for us across the river. We have one way out and the pipelines will be routed under it. Real safe, huh?

What about our property values? We are now required by law to disclose the potential of the pipeline(s) to all future buyers. A realtor has told our neighbors, who were planning to sell due to job relocation, that he will have a tough time getting people to even consider looking at their property. There go their dreams.

We were going to break ground this fall on our dream home. What now? Is the pipeline going to go through our building site? Will we have to move the drainfield? What about our well. Where will we be able to plant our garden? Where should I hang the swing for our grandchildren? I've got an idea. I'll put their sandbox over the pipeline and let them play there!

What econmonic potential is there for us over here? We get to sit on a gas time bomb, have our beautiful view ruined by industrial lights as we listen to the blast of pipelines being cleared of moisture and Oregon gets to enjoy approx. 500 temporary jobs created during construction but only approx. 50 for the actual running of the plant (of which, Northern Star themselves admitted at a meeting in Cathlamet, about 15 to 20 would be hired from the local area). By the way, won't this large corporation (like so many of them) be granted special tax advantages and allowances to the detriment of the local economy? Oh, that's right. They are going to join in with the schools with a Northern Star funded special program to train the students for potential jobs that don't exist.

What is wrong with this total picture? WE have 2 companies trying to build LNG plants further inland than any other plant; along a waterway with major fish runs; tying up all economic traffic along the Columbia corridor; with NO planned emergency routes along the Washington side; who continually lie to us and change their story; will only speak to us one to one (divide and conquer?); and we're suppose to openly embrace and welcome them? I don't think so.

Northern Star--you want to route your pipeline through our properties? Then you hold a GENERAL meeting for all to whom you sent your letters and made phone calls. Stand up and face us as a group if this plant and pipeline are such a good deal. Remember, our community will receive NO economic benefit from this project through taxes and substantial jobs so don't try to use the recent Supreme Court ruling to take our rights away from us.

Yes, I am angry and I'm ready for a fight!

Pipeline Meeting Wednesday September 28th 7:00pm 16.Sep.2005 10:17

Kristin Lee

There will be a Pipeline Meeting at the Cowlitz Co. PUD Building 961 12th Avenue in Longview Washington telephone 360-423-2210 This is a very important meeting that is open to the public. NW Natural Gas, FERC, and a rep. from the Coast Guard will be there as well as Northern Star. It is very important that many people come, and you will have an opportunity to speak and ask questions. The next morning, September 29th will be a pipeline tour. Starting at 9:00a.m. at the Cowlitz Co. PUD Building parking lot, same address as above, there will be a tor where the proposed pipeline will connect, it doesn't sound as if we will be on any property that they will condemn. The proposed sites will be at the tie-in at the Williams pipeline, the area where it will cross the columbia on the Washington side as well as the Oregon side, and the tour will finish up at the Bradwood site. You must provide your own trasportation-there will be others going so carpooling at the parking lot seems possible. Then to finish up the day (by the way they (Northern Star) said the pipeline tour will probably take until 3:00p.m.), there is the all important meeting with FERC and the Coast Guard at the Knappa High School at 7:00p.m. If you can only make it to one meeting, this is the one It is a public scoping meeting regarding the safety and security of the projcet. Please attend, we had a very impressive crowd at the last meeting there and we would like to see that again. Any questions, please feel free to call me in Portland at 503-293-5997. I am also a member of the Wahkiakum Friends of the River a grassroots organization in the Cathlamet-Puget Island-Skamokawa area. See you at these VERY IMPORTANT MEETINGS.... KRISTIN