LNG Fight Just Beginning
While opponents of the Bradwood LNG proposal were dealt a blow last week by the Clatsop Co. Planning Commission, the fight is just beginning to block the next generation of foreign fossil fuel addiction on the West Coast.
Three LNG terminal proposals are now actively seeking state, local, and/or federal permits in the State of Oregon. They are:
1. Bradwood LNG. NorthernStar is the developer. This is the site 38 miles up the river where the Convergence for Climate Action helped to stage an occupation of the LNG site a few weeks back. This project also involves a 35-mile pipeline under the Columbia River, through Cowlitz County, Washington. It will also likely result in the construction of the Palomar Project (see below).
2. Oregon LNG. Warrenton, OR. Oregon LNG is the developer, but the original proposal was Calpine's. This project also entails a 117-mile pipeline from Warrenton to Molalla.
3. Jordan Cove LNG. Coos Bay, OR. The developer is Fort Chicago. This project would be sited across Coos Bay from North Bend on Coos Bay's North Spit. The project also involves a 223-mile pipeline from Coos Bay to Malin, OR. The pipeline developers are Williams Pipeline Co., Fort Chicago, and PG&E (a major CA utility).
4. Palomar Pipeline Project. The developers are NW Natural and Transcanada Pipeline Company. This 220-mile project would extend from near Maupin (on the East side of the Cascades) through the Upper Clackamas to Molalla. The Western half would be built if an LNG terminal is approved, particularly at Bradwood. It would extend from Molalla to Wauna, OR, on the Columbia River. The project is most closely tied with the NorthernStar proposal, and if NorthernStar gains approval, it will likely result in Palomar being built as well.
Where Things Stand:
The Palomar and Oregon LNG projects are relatively new in terms of formal applications with the federal government (although we've known about them for a while), and hearings are being held throughout the next couple of months on these projects. People throughout the Willamette Valley are raising concerns about these projects, which will cut through farms, forests, wetlands, and rivers throughout Oregon. The Palomar Project includes more than a few troubling river crossings, including Fish Creek in the Upper Clackamas, the Nehalem River, the Clackamas River, the Willamette River, and the Wild & Scenic Deschutes. Stay tuned for more information on these projects. Both Oregon LNG and Palomar are waking people up in inland communities to the LNG issue.
Recently, the Bradwood LNG terminal received a recommendation of approval from the Clatsop County Planning Commission. A "Gang of Four" commissioners sided with NorthernStar despite strong arguments against the approval by three commissioners, two staff reports, and the attorney for Clatsop County. The Planning Commission's recommendation goes to the County Commission, who has a final say on whether the County will approve the project or not. Legal appeals are likely, in any case, but it's safe to expect the County Commissioners to go along with the Planning Commission. While this is an unfortunate turn of events, it does not spell the end of the battle, by any means.
The effort to block the Bradwood proposal is only now gaining wider attention, with the Governor's office receiving many phone calls about this and other LNG proposals in the State. Opponents will continue to fight shoddy evaluations by local, state, and federal officials when the occur and hold agencies' feet to the fire. More importantly, political pressure is mounting to sort out these proposals, with the Oregonian recently opposing the projects in a prominent Sunday Oregonian editorial (it's about time!).
The County-level land use process showed strong, broad opposition to a project - opposition also evident in the recent Climate Convergence occupation of the Bradwood LNG site. NorthernStar was repeatedly caught making false statements, such as "We will not send gas to California: our project is for the Pacific NW alone." Documents show that NorthernStar has already solicited capacity on the Palomar pipeline for the purpose of sending large quantities of gas to Northern California. Additionally, Vice President of N Star Gary Coppedge claimed, "We have not threatened anyone with eminent domain." His statement was met with shock and anger, and within hours many landowners produced copies of letters sent by NorthernStar that threatened the use of eminent domain if landowners refused to grant easements.
In Coos Bay, citizen opponents vastly outnumbered proponents of the Jordan Cove LNG and Pacific Connector pipeline projects in recent land use hearings. By more than a 10 to 1 margin, opponents voiced their disgust with an inadequate Coos County review process, and with a project that so clearly intends to use SW Oregon as a backdoor for PG&E's gas supply. More hearings are scheduled in Coos County in the coming weeks.
All projects are now clearly California-driven, with the Columbia River projects being able to use the Palomar Pipeline to deliver gas to N California. NW Natural only intends to use 10 percent of the capacity of the Palomar pipeline, with the rest presumably being available for moving natural gas from LNG terminals to out-of-state markets. The California connection is obvious with the Coos Bay proposal, where a major CA utility will own 1/3 of the pipeline from Coos Bay to the California border.
Lastly, the Climate implications of these projects are becoming increasingly evident, with a recent Carnegie Melon study showing that LNG projects can be up to 30 percent worse in carbon emissions than new coal plants. The long supply lines of the LNG terminals represent a huge carbon impact. In following the carbon trail, we also find environmental devestation, human rights disasters, and labor abuses all along the LNG supply chain. The next generation of foreign fossil fuel projects is here in the form of "clean coal" and LNG. It's time to call to task the Governors of Oregon and Washington for their unacceptable silence on these issues.
Office of the Governor
160 State Capitol
900 Court Street
Salem, OR 97301
(more on contacting Governor from Onward Oregon: http://www.onwardoregon.org/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx?c=ffIOIRMEG&b=3136209)
Governor Christine Gregoire:
Office of the Governor
P. O. Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504
P.S - Thanks again to KBOO for covering the LNG issue this morning.
homepage: http://columbiarivervision.org, oregonwaters.org, citizensagainstlng.googlepages.com
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