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.




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.