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LNG: Making Progress

Governor, State Agency Says There is No Need For LNG. They also demand a new EIS for Bradwood LNG. Learn more:
LNG for Oregon? Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG): Oregon at a Crossroads. May 13, 2008 6:30pm, First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th Ave, Portland.
First and foremost, to learn more, consider attending this event on Tuesday:

LNG for Oregon? Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG): Oregon at a Crossroads
May 13, 2008 6:30pm, First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th Ave, Portland

Speakers will include community activists, Bill Bradbury, and former Enron prosecutor John Kroger. All will address the importance of moving Oregon away from LNG and towards conservation, efficiency, and renewables.

Just in time for this event, the Governor's office and Oregon Department of Energy yesterday demanded a new Environmental Impact Statement for the Bradwood LNG proposal. They cited multiple changes in the project proposal that are making it impossible for the public to get a clear sense of the project. While this is not a statement of opposition to the project, it is a big help to the folks fighting the project. In fact, the Governor's letter cites a recent request made by Columbia Riverkeeper and other intervenors in the case that the EIS be re-written. Bradwood continues to complain that it's spent $30 million already on its project, and that the analysis is adequate.

On the same day, Oregon Department of Energy released a report that flatly states that Oregon does not need LNG. ODOE did an independent analysis of Oregon's gas needs. The agency made a big assumption that gas demands will continue to go up, despite public pressure for conservation, efficiency, and renewables. But even in the most natural gas-hungry scenario, the projects still do not serve an Oregon need. Oregon can supply its gas needs through other means. It makes the most economic sense to try to bring down gas demand with conservation and efficiency measures, and renewable energy is increasingly attractive as prices for fossil fuels skyrocket.

This points to another important conclusion of the report - LNG is extremely expensive. The report states that LNG will not be able to compete with North American natural gas prices unless the price of oil drops to $60/barrel. The price LNG is often "tagged" to the price of oil, so the increasing price of oil has dragged LNG prices upwards, as well. Additionally, growing Asian demand for LNG has driven prices up to twice what we currently pay for natural gas. Simply put, ODOE is telling us that Oregon can't afford LNG.

Lastly, the report does acknowledge the excessive greenhouse gas impacts of LNG. LNG, due to its lengthy supply chain, emits more carbon dioxide over the life-cycle of its use than domestic natural gas. Liquefication, transportation, and regasification all add a "carbon penalty" over domestic natural gas sources.

The report, however, does conclude that Oregon needs more gas. It generally supports using proposed Rocky Mountain gas pipelines as more economical and less destructive. Many LNG opponents strongly disagree with this conclusion. It would seem to be a waste of time and resources to continue to expand fossil fuel infrastructure, even if it is less destructive and erratic as an energy supply than domestic gas. There is a lot not to like for advocates of radical reductions in our fossil fuel use in this report. Still, it will go a long way to undermine the false claims of LNG speculators. The Oregonian described it yesterday as a "potentially fatal blow" to LNG.

Come by on May 13 at the First Unitarian Church and learn more about the push to reject LNG, "the next fossil fuel."

Good momentum 12.May.2008 21:32


This study is good news. It's great to see the folks at the agencies backing people up, but...

I can't help but notice that this study really seems to pump up the Rockies gas proposals. If we're going to use this stuff, it's better to get it from the U.S. than Indonesia, Russia, or Nigeria (where there are no labor or environmental standards). Still, this study makes it more important than ever that we get a real grassroots push for conservation and efficiency in the State - and particularly in Portland. Otherwise, we'll end up with fossil fuel pipelines from the East, the West, or both.
We need to wean ourselves off of this fossil fuel stuff by weaning ourselves off of NW Natural's energy schemes. I think that local governments could use LNG opposition as part of a strong push for more public financing of efficiency and conservation. There's no reason, for instance, for new commercial buildings not to use super-efficient heat pumps (more expensive, but they don't use gas and pay for themselves in a few years - especially with rising gas prices).
The first step is not deepening our fossil fuel addiction, but I'm hoping that we use the Portland event to create some momentum for the alternatives...