Oregon LNG, a “Sinking Ship”

Oregon LNG’s Proposal

  • LNG Terminal. Oregon LNG proposes building its terminal on 96-acres of state-owned land on the Skipanon Peninsula between the Skipanon River and Youngs Bay in Warrenton, Oregon. The terminal would include two, 160,000 cubic meter LNG storage tanks, each 17-stories tall, and facilities that support ship berthing and LNG loading. To export LNG, the company must dredge 1.2 million cubic feet of river bottom material in high-quality salmon habitat.
  • LNG Tankers. LNG tankers are not your average ship. One LNG tanker alone is bigger than three football fields and towers 20-stories high. According to Oregon LNG’s filings, its terminal will require roughly 125 new ships crossing the Columbia River bar (inbound and outbound) every year. Each departing tanker would carry a staggering 8 percent of total U.S. daily gas consumption.
  • pipelineNew Pipelines in Oregon & Washington. Oregon LNG will build 86 miles of high-pressure pipelines through Clatsop and Columbia counties, cutting a destructive path through private land, forests, and farmland. The company would drill under the Columbia River and connect to the Williams Pipeline in Woodland, Washington. The Williams Pipeline Company plans to build 136 miles of new, high-pressure pipeline in or near the existing Northwest Pipeline right-of-way. The new pipeline would run from Washington’s northern border south to Woodland, Washington, threatening hundreds of landowners and communities along the way. Williams will also expand existing compression horsepower at five of Northwest Pipeline’s existing compressor stations.

 

Stuck In a Rut: Timeline of Oregon LNG Terminal & Pipeline

2004: Initial talks begin for LNG terminal on the Skipanon Peninsula in Warrenton, Oregon.

2005: Oregon LNG’s first backer, Calpine, files for bankruptcy.

2008: Oregon LNG files formal Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) application to build an LNG import terminal in Warrenton.

2010: National Marine Fisheries Service refuses to initiate Endangered Species Act consultation because Oregon LNG had not fully disclosed project plans and impacts. This further delays needed LNG terminal and pipeline approvals. Clatsop County Board of Commissioners approve Oregon LNG’s pipeline; Riverkeeper and the Northwest Property Rights Coalition appeal approval to the Land Use Board of Appeals on numerous grounds.

2011: Newly elected Clatsop County Board reconsiders former Board’s land use approval and reverses. Oregon LNG sues the County for reconsidering pipeline approval; Riverkeeper intervenes on the County’s side. The court agrees with the County and Riverkeeper and dismisses Oregon LNG’s lawsuit.

2012: In July, Oregon LNG amends its FERC application, flipping its proposed LNG import terminal to an LNG export terminal. Oregon LNG’s bait-and-switch solidifies statewide opposition. After appealing the 2011 decision upholding Clatsop County’s right to vote on the pipeline, Oregon LNG loses its appeal at the Oregon Court of Appeals.

2013: In March 2013, the Oregon Supreme Court rejects Oregon LNG’s appeal, upholding the lower courts’ rulings against the company and Clatsop County’s right to reconsider the pipeline decision. After hearing overwhelming testimony opposed to the pipeline, the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners votes in October to deny the pipeline land use permits. Oregon LNG appeals the County’s decision to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals. Columbia Riverkeeper and the Northwest Property Rights Coalition intervene in the case to defend the County’s well-reasoned decision.

 

Investors Regret Gambling on Oregon LNG

In a surprising admission, Leucadia Chairman Ian M. Cumming and President Joseph Steinberg stated, “If we had known what we were getting into, we would not have done it.” Yet the project backers continue to waste taxpayer dollars, most recently by changing from an import to an export terminal, changing the pipeline route, and requiring a fresh start to local, state, and federal agency review.

In early 2012, Columbia Riverkeeper sent a letter to Oregon LNG’s financial backers explaining why the project is a sinking ship and why investors should abandon the failing project. Thanks to the steadfast commitment of citizens, landowners, the fishing community, and many others, we’ve successfully protected our river, farms, and forests from LNG terminals and pipelines.