“FERC not concerned with Oregon LNG challenge to Army Corps easement”

Daily Astorian. Oct. 30, 2015.

“Oregon lawmakers press FERC on Oregon LNG’s land use dispute with Army Corps”

Daily Astorian. Oct. 1, 2015.

” Judge tosses Oregon LNG’s easement challenge”

AP News. Sept. 2, 2015.

“Oregon LNG Hearings”

HipFish. September 2015.

Oregon LNG Update: Public & Agencies Weigh in on FERC’s 1,000+ page EIS – featured

Oregon LNG Update: Public & Agencies Weigh in on FERC’s 1,000+ page EIS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FEDS, STATES, & LOCAL GOVERNMENTS BLAST FERC’S ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW FOR LNG PROJECT ON COLUMBIA RIVER

 Oct. 7, 2015 (Warrenton, OR) – A flood of harsh criticism from federal and state agencies, as well as local governments, tribes, and a coalition of fishing and public health groups, poured into the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as the comment period on the controversial Oregon LNG liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal and pipeline drew to a close. Agencies and the public weighed in on FERC’s1,000-plus page environmental impact statement for the proposed Oregon LNG terminal and over 200 miles of new gas pipeline extending from the Washington State-Canada border to the mouth of the Columbia River. In the draft environmental review, FERC concludes that the project would cause adverse impacts to the environment, which the company can reduce through mitigation and engineering. Other federal agencies, the states of Oregon and Washington, and a coalition of fishing and public health groups disagreed.

“This project flies in the face of good science and good public policy,” said Columbia Riverkeeper Conservation Director, Dan Serres. “It is not surprising that federal and state scientists blasted FERC’s review. FERC has a storied history of ignoring and downplaying valid objections to LNG development.”

Agencies that weighed in to criticize FERC’s environmental review included the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and over a dozen Oregon and Washington state agencies. For example, the U.S. Department of the Interior expressed “considerable concern about environmental impacts related to the potential development…including the potential impact to natural and cultural resources, as well as other trust resources.” Interior, which filed comments on behalf of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service, criticized FERC’s opinion on the project’s impacts to the National Park system, the safety of park visitors, and endangered species.

EPA joined the states of Oregon and Washington in criticizing FERC for ignoring the project’s impacts on climate change. Oregon LNG would use natural gas feedstock from Western Canada or the western U.S. This type of gas, known as shale gas, requires the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking). FERC concluded that federal law does not require evaluating the impacts of natural gas drilling and gas burning. EPA and the states disagreed. EPA ultimately concluded that FERC’s environmental review contained “inadequate information” and the states of Oregon and Washington called on FERC to make a laundry list of revisions to the draft environmental review before reaching a final decision on the project.

A large coalition of commercial and sport fishing, public health, property rights, and environmental groups joined agencies in calling on FERC to recognize the significant impacts of Oregon LNG’s project and deny permits for LNG export on the Columbia.

Read a selection of the agency, tribal, and local government comments:

Background information
Currently, there are two proposals to locate LNG facilities on the Oregon Coast and the Columbia River, coupled with associated proposals to construct hundreds of miles of new natural gas pipelines throughout Oregon and Washington. Oregon LNG has faced a rocky path over the last ten years since initially proposing an LNG import terminal in the Columbia River estuary. Oregon LNG was the subject of a criminal investigation into its illegal action to obtain the terminal land lease; Oregon LNG sued the Port of Astoria when the Port wanted to get out of the questionable lease; and Oregon LNG sued Clatsop County after the County rejected the LNG pipeline application.

About Columbia Riverkeeper
Columbia Riverkeeper’s mission is to protect and restore the water quality of the Columbia River and all life connected to it, from the headwaters to the Pacific Ocean. Representing over 8,000 members and supporters, Columbia Riverkeeper works to restore a Columbia River where people can safely eat the fish they catch, and where children can swim without fear of toxic exposure. The organization is a member of Waterkeeper Alliance, the world’s fastest growing environmental movement, uniting more than 200 Waterkeeper organizations worldwide. For more information, go to columbiariverkeeper.org.

“Astoria may take sides in Oregon LNG clash”

Daily Astorian. Sept. 1, 2015.

Overflow Crowd Packs Warrenton Hearing to Oppose Oregon LNG

Warrenton, OR (September 3, 2015) – Last night over 200 people, the vast majority opposed to the Oregon LNG project,

Oregon LNG opposition wore red. Photo by Bonnie McKinlay.

Oregon LNG opposition wore red. Photo by Bonnie McKinlay.

packed the City of Warrenton’s public hearing about the proposed Oregon LNG terminal and pipeline.  Before the hearing, local activists rallied outside with signs, banners, and a mock-up of the proposed pipeline. And an overflow crowd presented hours of testimony urging a Hearings Officer to deny the Oregon LNG terminal and pipeline because it conflicts with the City’s local land use laws.  Because so many people wanted to testify, the Hearings Officer scheduled a second hearing on Thursday evening.

“Tonight’s hearing demonstrated that people who live in this area fiercely oppose Oregon LNG’s proposed terminal and pipeline,” said Dan Serres, Conservation Director with Columbia Riverkeeper.  “It’s hard to imagine a project that would be more incompatible with the safety of local residents and health of the Columbia River Estuary – a linchpin for salmon survival and recovery.”

“This has always been an outrageously risky and speculative venture,” said Tessa Scheller, a Warrenton resident and founder of the Skipanon Watershed Council. “My family and this community have poured countless volunteer days and years, our treasure and time into restoring the Skipanon River’s health. We have planted thousands of trees, replaced culverts and educated ourselves and this community while working together to remove dams, improve water quality, fish and wildlife habitat. LNG is a risk to everything we do.”

Dozens of activists spoke about how Oregon LNG would threaten public safety, damage wetlands and other fish habitat, restrict public use and access to the terminal site, inhibit boats on nearby waterways, snarl local and regional transportation, and pollute air and water quality.  Others expressed frustration that Oregon LNG had submitted an application to Warrenton after being dealt a defeat in a property dispute with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns a dredge disposal easement on the terminal site.

Cheryl Johnson, a retired school librarian, said, “Oregon LNG doesn’t have the right to use the site for an LNG terminal because the Army Corps has an easement there.  But Oregon LNG is more than willing to waste everyone’s time with a dead-end project.  We are urging the City of Warrenton to protect this community’s public safety, economic future, and River by rejecting Oregon LNG.”

Some participants traveled from far away to register their opposition to Oregon LNG. Bonnie McKinlay, with 350 PDX and Portland Rising Tide, said, “We are engaged in this fight because we don’t want Oregon to become a trafficker of liquefied fracked gas and carbon pollution, but tonight we also learned about the immense hazards from this reckless project.  It’s a bad idea all around, and it’s long past time for the State of Oregon to reject this project.”

The hearing was conducted by a hearings officer hired by the city of Warrenton.  Because of the huge interest in the issue, the Hearings Officer scheduled a second hearing on Thursday, September 3 to receive additional oral testimony.  The Hearings Officer is expected to make a decision in coming months.

Later in September, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will hold its own hearings in Astoria, Vernonia, and southwest Washington to take input on its draft review of the Oregon LNG terminal and related pipelines.

“Feds say Oregon LNG’s environmental impacts are manageable”

Oregonian. Aug. 5, 2015.

Oregon LNG Update: Groups Call on Governor Brown to Deny State Permits

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Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. led a rally on the steps of the Oregon State Capitol in Salem, Ore., on May 26, 2015, against Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports in the state. There are currently two proposed LNG export terminals, one for Coos Bay and the other at the mouth of the Columbia River in Warrenton. Call Oregon Governor Brown at 503-378-4582 and ask her to take a stand against LNG today!


Columbia Riverkeeper · Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility · Northwest Property Right Coalition · Northwest Guides & Anglers Association · Association of Northwest Steelheaders · Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition · Food & Water Watch · Columbia Pacific Common Sense · Sierra Club · Wahkiakum Friends of the River · Northwest Environmental Defense Center · Center for Biological Diversity · Save Our Wild Salmon ·
Landowners & Citizens for a Safe Community · Oregon Citizens Against the Pipeline · Forest Grove Oregon Citizens Against Pipelines · Willapa Hills Audubon Society · Waterkeeper Alliance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


PUBLIC HEALTH, FISHING, AND CONSERVATION GROUPS BLAST FERC’S DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW FOR PROPOSED COLUMBIA RIVER LNG TERMINAL, CALL ON GOVERNOR BROWN TO DENY STATE PERMITS


August 5, 2015 (Portland, OR) – A coalition including fishing, public health, property rights, and conservation groups criticized a draft environmental review issued today by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the Oregon LNG terminal and pipeline. FERC has a history of approving liquefied natural gas (LNG) developments, including the Bradwood LNG project on the Columbia River, which filed for bankruptcy in 2010. The groups called on Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown to deny key state permits for the project in light of FERC’s failure to consider the best available science on LNG’s impacts to public health and safety, endangered salmon, and the economy.

Cheryl Johnson, a Clatsop County resident and retired school librarian, stated, “Our community has spoken loud and clear in opposition to LNG. We are looking to Governor Brown to stand up for the best interests of Oregonians and deny state permits for this misguided project. FERC’s rubberstamp approach to LNG development demands bold leadership to protect what we value: safe communities, strong salmon runs, and clean water.”

Oregon LNG proposes building an LNG terminal on the East Skipanon Peninsula near Warrenton, Oregon, to export North American natural gas overseas. In the draft environmental impact statement, FERC concludes that the project would cause adverse impacts to the environment, which the company can reduce through mitigation and engineering. FERC’s conclusions contrast starkly with those reached by Clatsop County, Oregon, which denied key permits for Oregon LNG’s pipeline based on significant threats to public safety and local rivers.

FERC’s draft environmental review also ignores the outcome of a significant court ruling issued last week in Oregon LNG’s lawsuit against another federal agency: the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). According to the court’s ruling, the Corps has a valid legal right to use the proposed terminal property to deposit dredge spoils. Unless the Corps is willing to forfeit the right, Oregon LNG cannot build the proposed terminal. “The Corps vigorously defended this lawsuit to protect a valuable public property right and the court got it right,” stated Miles Johnson, Clean Water Attorney for Columbia Riverkeeper. “The court’s ruling could spell the end to Oregon LNG’s ten-year effort to site one of the most destructive, dangerous projects we’ve ever seen proposed on the Columbia River.”

In addition to last week’s court ruling, FERC’s draft environmental review ignores detailed comments to the Corps from state, federal, and tribal agencies that highlight the project’s significant risks and inadequate mitigation. The Corps must decide whether Oregon LNG can build a new industrial dock for LNG tankers and dredge an area the size of 102 football fields in the Columbia River estuary. Oregon LNG cannot build the terminal and gas pipeline without permits from Corps.

“Putting a massive LNG terminal in the heart of the lower Columbia’s most popular commercial and recreational fishery undermines decades of work to protect fishing opportunities in the lower Columbia River,” said Dan Marvin, a longtime Columbia River commercial fisherman. “On top of this, our region has invested billions of dollars in restoring salmon habitat. FERC has its head in the sand when it concludes this project won’t have a significant impact on our livelihoods.”

Oregon LNG’s dredging alone would destroy critical habitat for twelve stocks of endangered and threatened salmon and steelhead. The project also requires taking private property using eminent domain to build the gas pipeline from the U.S.-Canada border to Warrenton.

“This project flies in the face of good science and good public policy,” said Columbia Riverkeeper Conservation Director, Dan Serres. “From the stand point of destroying salmon habitat, Oregon LNG’s project is at a scale unlike any other private project in the Columbia River estuary. So it is not surprising that biologists and other scientists looking at this project are raising red flags. And FERC—with its history of approving LNG—is ignoring and downplaying those valid objections.”

Background information
Currently, there are two LNG facilities proposed in Oregon: the Jordan Cover project on the Oregon Coast and the Oregon LNG project on the Columbia River. Both projects require hundreds of miles of new gas pipelines through Oregon and Washington. Oregon LNG has faced a rocky path over the last ten years since first leasing the property, including: Oregon LNG was the subject of a criminal investigation into its illegal action to obtain the lease; Oregon LNG sued the Port of Astoria when the Port wanted to get out of the questionable lease; and Oregon LNG sued Clatsop County after the County rejected the LNG pipeline application.


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