Blog post by Lauren Goldberg, Columbia Riverkeeper’s Staff Attorney—
In early November, Columbia Riverkeeper joined with the Sierra Club to file a 60-page protest with the U.S. Department of Energy (Energy Department) opposing Oregon LNG’s export proposal. Under federal law, Oregon LNG cannot ship natural gas overseas without the go-ahead from the Energy Department. And the Energy Department cannot authorize export unless it finds that export is in the “public interest.” In the filing, Sierra Club and Riverkeeper explained why the Energy Department should reject LNG export, including the impacts of export on domestic natural gas prices, endangered salmon and climate change.
Opposition to LNG export reached new heights this fall. In late September, a group of 20 Democrats in Congress told the Energy Department that it should complete environmental tests before approving LNG export deals. In a letter to Energy Department, the members of Congress expressed concern about the amount of hydraulic fracture—or “fracking”—needed to meet the demand for natural gas exports. The Energy Department has twice delayed releasing a highly anticipated analysis of natural gas exports that will help decide the fate of several pending export proposals, including Oregon LNG. The Energy Department now claims it will release the report by year-end. To date, the Energy Department has only approved one project for export, Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass terminal on the Gulf Coast.
Riverkeeper will continue to update our members about important developments in the Oregon LNG case.