Liquefied Natural Gas Threatens the Columbia River

Skipanon River meets the Columbia at the proposed Oregon LNG terminal. Photo by Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky.

Skipanon River meets the Columbia at the proposed Oregon LNG terminal. Photo by Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky.

One of the greatest threats to the Columbia River Estuary’s fragile wetlands and endangered salmon populations are massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals proposed near the mouth of the Columbia River. LNG is supercooled natural gas that requires massive amounts of energy and freshwater to produce. LNG speculators want to export North American natural gas to overseas markets. These plans come at a steep price for consumers, jobs, and endangered salmon that rely on the Estuary for survival.

Columbia Riverkeeper works closely with farmers, foresters, and communities threatened by LNG terminals and pipelines. Take action to protect the people and salmon that call the Columbia home.


Let’s make a powerful statement against LNG this month at key public hearings about Oregon LNG!

IMG_1127Even as Oregon LNG falters and faces an unresolved property dispute with the Army Corps of Engineers (see Daily Astorian story), the company is pushing the City of Warrenton and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve key permits for Oregon LNG’s massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal and associated pipelines. As a result, we have multiple important opportunities to make our case against Oregon LNG at hearings in September.

Your voice is critically important this month. Public involvement was key in defeating the proposed Bradwood LNG terminal and pipeline. And your work has been the determining factor in ensuring that Oregon LNG has made no progress in its outrageous scheme to export fracked gas to overseas markets. With your help, we can succeed again. You are the experts on local impacts. You have the most to lose if LNG development succeeds. Public hearings and comment periods are your chance to make the compelling case to decision-makers about why LNG is a bad bet for the Pacific Northwest.

City of Warrenton Public Hearing

Wednesday, September 2, 2015 at 5:00 pm (join us to rally beforehand at 4:15)
Warrenton Community Center, 170 SW 3rd Street, Warrenton
* Hearing will continue on Thursday if additional time is needed
* Check out Columbia Riverkeeper’s fact sheet about Warrenton’s upcoming hearing.
* Check out Columbia Riverkeeper et al. Oregon LNG City of Warrenton Testimony.

On September 2, the City of Warrenton will hold a public hearing about whether the Oregon LNG terminal and pipeline comply with the City’s land use rules. The hearing will be conducted by a hearings officer hired by the city of Warrenton. You can provide comments on 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. You can also attend to support the great local activists who will speak out against the project. Please wear red!

  • Columbia Riverkeeper will keep our website updated with whatever new testimony Oregon LNG submits to the City.  You have until September 25, 2015, at 5:00 pm to read Oregon LNG’s new evidence or testimony and send in comments that respond to the issues Oregon LNG raises.  You can submit comments to the same email/mailing address listed above.
  •  Next, Oregon LNG will have until October 2, 2015, to file a final rebuttal (the applicant always gets the last word under Oregon land use law).
  •  The Hearings Officer will issue a decision approving or denying the terminal and pipeline. We’ll let you know as soon as the City announces this decision. Depending on how the Hearings Officer rules, Oregon LNG or anyone who participated in the Hearings Officer process (i.e., by submitting written testimony or speaking at the hearing) can appeal the decision to the City Commission.

FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) Public Hearings
Astoria – Monday, September 21, 2015, at 1-4pm and 6-9pm
Clatsop County Fairgrounds – Exhibit Hall
92937 Walluski Loop, Astoria
(If you pick one FERC hearing, please attend the Monday evening hearing in Astoria!)

Throughout September, FERC will conduct hearings about the Oregon LNG project and the connected Washington Expansion Project (a series of new pipeline segments in Washington designed to feed into the proposed Oregon LNG pipeline and terminal). The hearings will take public input on the adequacy of FERC’s draft environmental impact statement (DEIS), which purports to assess the combined impact of Oregon LNG’s terminal, the Oregon LNG Pipeline, and the Washington Expansion Project. FERC will hold hearings in Astoria, Vernonia, Ridgefield, Kelso, and throughout the state of Washington.OR: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Leads Oregon State Capitol Rally Against Liquefied Natural Gas Exports

FERC’s analysis of the Oregon LNG project and the connected Washington Expansion Project is deeply flawed. The DEIS chronically understates the hazards and potential impacts of Oregon LNG’s terminal. And, although it is over 900 pages in length, the DEIS glosses over the public safety, environmental, and economic risks to communities along the hundreds of miles of new high-pressure, non-odorized pipelines that would be required to ship fracked gas to Warrenton for export. For example, the DEIS lacks complete information about emergency response plans, impacts to salmon habitat, and landslide risks along the pipeline routes.

For basic information about issues to raise in comments, see our Summer Citizen Comment guide. You can also attend to support the great local activists who will speak out against the project. Please wear red!

The FERC hearings are a critical moment for us to stand up to a federal agency that recklessly approves dangerous, destructive projects like Oregon LNG and Jordan Cove LNG in Coos Bay. This is a chance to point out the flaws in Oregon LNG’s plan, and it’s an even bigger chance to educate our communities, our elected officials, and our state regulators who have their own decisions to make about Oregon LNG. We know that FERC will rubberstamp Oregon LNG. The question is, will Governor Brown and our Congressional delegation stand up for Oregon against FERC? Let’s use FERC’s hearings to make sure they do.

  • Astoria – Monday, September 21, 2015, at 1-4pm and 6-9pm
    Clatsop County Fairgrounds – Exhibit Hall located at 92937 Walluski Loop, Astoria, OR
    (If you pick one hearing, please attend the Monday evening hearing in Astoria!)
  • Vernonia – Tuesday, September 22, 2015, at 6-9pm
    Vernonia High School-Commons Area located at 1000 Missouri Avenue, Vernonia, OR
  • Ridgefield – Wednesday, September 23, 2015, at 6-9pm
    Summit Grove Lodge located at  30810 NE Timmen Road, Ridgefield, WA
  • Kelso – Thursday, September 24, 2015, at 6pm-9pm
    Red Lion Hotel located at 510 S Kelso Drive, Kelso, WA

For a full list of the dates, times, and locations of FERC hearings in Oregon and Washington, please see the attached public notice.



lng victoryBradwood LNG Goes Belly Up. In 2010, we scored a David versus Goliath victory when the Bradwood LNG import project filed for bankruptcy after years of fighting our grassroots campaign to protect Columbia River communities from the threat of LNG. Riverkeeper worked with farmers, foresters, and communities along the Columbia River to execute a successful grassroots and legal campaign that ultimately led to Bradwood’s bankruptcy. Today, there is only one proposal remaining: Leucadia’s “Oregon LNG” project near the mouth of the Columbia River in Warrenton, Oregon.

cheryl johnson and ted messing 2010Cheryl Johnson and Ted Messing have been active in the fight against LNG since its inception along the Columbia River. Serving as Riverkeeper’s Volunteer Columbia Estuary Coordinators for a time, Cheryl and Ted have been leaders in the fight, educating people in the Estuary of the detrimental impacts of LNG on the Columbia. Read Cheryl’s personal response to the Bradwood victory.


Oregon LNG Pipeline Permits Denied. In October 2013, after hearing overwhelming testimony in opposition to Oregon LNG, the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 to reject Oregon LNG’s pipeline. Oregon LNG cannot operate its terminal without a pipeline through Clatsop County. Culminating a multi-year legal battle, the Board’s vote sets the stage for the State of Oregon to reject LNG on the Columbia River.


LNG Threatens Communities. LNG terminals and pipelines threaten the people who live and work along the pipeline route, the Columbia River, and near the terminal site. From taking private property for corporate profit to the consequences of an accidental or terrorist-induced catastrophe, Oregon LNG is bad deal for the people who live and work in nearby communities.

LNG Threatens Salmon Habitat. While the Northwest invests billions of dollars in restoring habitat in the Columbia River Estuary, LNG speculators continue to charge forward with plans to destroy critical salmon habitat and significantly increase shipping traffic.

LNG Export Threatens Jobs & Consumers. Each departing tanker would carry a staggering 8 percent of total U.S. daily gas consumption. According to a 2011 report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), exporting LNG would increase significantly U.S. natural gas prices. In other words, exporting LNG is like a new tax on every manufacturer, homeowner, or farmer who uses natural gas.


Riverkeeper works closely with farmers, foresters, and the communities threatened by the Oregon LNG’s project. We work hard to give people impacted by LNG a voice in the complex local, state, and federal arenas. Our recent work includes:

  • Intervening in Oregon LNG’s lawsuit against Clatsop County. In 2010, Riverkeeper challenged the County’s decision to approve the pipeline. After the County decided to reconsider its decision, Oregon LNG sued the County. After years of legal wrangling, Oregon LNG lost. In October 2013, Clatsop County denied Oregon LNG’s land use permits. Riverkeeper intervened to defend the County’s reasoning and right to make a decision. Click here to learn more
  • Urging the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) to reject Oregon LNG’s Coastal Zone Management Act certification because it fails to meet state and local standards. Oregon LNG cannot build its terminal and pipeline without DLCD’s approval. Read our letter to DLCD.
  • Questioning Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) about the potential air and water impacts of the proposed LNG terminal. Oregon LNG cannot build and operate without permits from DEQ. Read our comments and factsheet.
  • Requesting that the Oregon Water Resources Department deny Oregon LNG’s water rights for the LNG terminal and pipeline. Oregon LNG cannot convert natural gas to LNG without massive quantities of state-owned water. Read our letter and factsheet.
  • Explaining the broad range of issues that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must evaluate when deciding whether to issue a permit for Oregon LNG and its connected pipelines. Read Riverkeeper’s National Environmental Policy Act scoping comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Citizen Guide.
  • Asking the U.S. Department of Energy to reject Oregon LNG’s request to ship LNG to Non-Free Trade Agreement nations. Read our filing.
  • Challenging the U.S. Coast Guard’s decision to give the green light for LNG shipping traffic on the Columbia River. Riverkeeper filed a lawsuit challenging the Coast Guard’s failure to comply with federal laws that protect public safety and endangered species.


Wetlands near the proposed Oregon LNG site. Photo by Magpie.

Wetlands near the proposed Oregon LNG site. Photo by Magpie.