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Federal OK sought for Columbia River gas terminal

Jun 12, 2013


By The Associated Press

PORTLAND — A company seeking to build a liquefied natural gas terminal near the mouth of the Columbia River has filed for a federal permit, which could set up confrontations with government officials.

The county has withdrawn land-use approval for a pipeline to the proposed plant, and state officials have clashed with federal regulators over a permit for another Clatsop County LNG terminal proposal, the Oregonian reported Wednesday.

Oregon LNG previously said it would comply with all state and local requirements for the plant proposed at Warrenton. However, CEO Peter Hansen now says the county doesn't have jurisdiction over an interstate pipeline, and federal approval would trump the county's opposition.

“We've shown the county we meet all the standards,” he said. “If that's not enough, then we have to move on and do it in a different way.”

He said the company sought approval last week from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The project has been in the works for years, first to import gas and currently to export gas to Asia. The county commission initially approved the pipeline, but in 2011 a new slate of commissioners withdrew the approval.

Opponents said in a statement issued by the environmental group Columbia Riverkeeper that the plant must meet local standards.

“Oregon LNG has faced strong and diverse opposition in Clatsop County since the project began in 2004,” said the group's executive director, Brett VandenHeuvel.

The state of Oregon previously locked horns with federal authorities over a separate LNG proposal on the Columbia, called the Bradwood Landing plant.

The state criticized the federal energy commission at the time for approving the project with insufficient analysis and before the state had granted necessary permits. Backers abandoned the Bradwood project after spending more than $100 million on permitting efforts.

The cost of the Warrenton project is estimated at $6.3 billion. The affiliated pipeline would run through Clatsop, Tillamook and Columbia counties and under the Columbia River to connect with an interstate pipeline near Woodland.

Accommodating the increased gas flows would also require a significant expansion of that pipeline system. Another gas export terminal has been proposed in Coos Bay, Ore.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com

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