Court of Appeals rules that Clatsop County Properly Revoked LNG Pipeline Approval
Read opinion here: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A148770.pdf
Salem, OR—Today, in a unanimous decision, the Oregon Court of Appeals paved the way for Clatsop County to finalize its denial of the Oregon LNG pipeline. Because the LNG pipeline is not allowed under Clatsop County law, the controversial Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export terminal cannot move forward.
“You cannot build an LNG terminal without a pipeline,” stated Brett VandenHeuvel, Executive Director of Columbia Riverkeeper. “It’s that simple.”
In March of 2011, the Clatsop County Commissioners voted 4 to 1 to deny the Oregon LNG pipeline application because the project does not comply with county law. Oregon LNG took the extraordinary step of asking a Court to prevent the County from finalizing that vote. Today, Oregon LNG lost, and the County can move forward to finalize the denial.
“This is a resounding victory for the citizens of Clatsop County,” stated Brett VandenHeuvel. “Oregon LNG attempted to subvert the democratic process by challenging the right of Clatsop County to take second look at a dangerous pipeline proposal. Today’s decision casts serious doubt on the viability of Oregon LNG.”
The high-pressure natural gas pipeline would cut through 41 miles of farms, forests, the Columbia River Estuary, and residential properties. Clatsop County found that the pipeline would violate protections of farmland, forests, salmon habitat, and public safety. The Clatsop County Planning Department drafted a 102-page staff report explaining in detail that the pipeline application violated local law. The Court of Appeals ruling today will send the decision to the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners to evaluate whether the LNG project complies with local land use protections. “The bottom line is the project does not meet the public safety and salmon protections in Clatsop County,” stated VandenHeuvel.
Cheryl Johnson, a retired school librarian and Clatsop County resident added, “Our community voted by a two to one margin to reject LNG in 2008. Oregon LNG’s new export proposal is even worse. Oregon LNG has no future in our county, where people value local jobs, a healthy river, and the safety of our community much more than empty promises from Oregon LNG.”
The Oregon State Court of Appeals ruled on the question of whether Clatsop County Commissioners can reexamine the land use approval by the previous Commission. In today’s decision, the court ruled that Clatsop County can reconsider the 2010 pipeline approval.
A lot has changed since 2010. In July 2012 Oregon LNG announced its plans to join with Williams Pipeline’s proposed Washington Expansion Project – involving 140 miles of new pipeline construction through Washington – to ship natural gas overseas to Asia, where consumers pay much higher prices for energy. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the exportation of natural gas as LNG will increase energy natural gas prices for U.S. consumers by up to 54 percent. “LNG export is incredibly unpopular,” stated VandenHeuvel. “It’s a bad deal for our farms and rivers, and a bad deal for everyone who uses natural gas.”
Great Oregonian coverage of the victory.