8/28/09 Update from WA Dept of Ecology re Bradwood

Last year, several concerned citizens, including John Green and myself, met with Dean Takko, WA State Representative, Jay Manning, and Sally Toteff, from WA Dept of Ecology.  The State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) will identify the gaps in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), due in late October.  Additional information is also included on Water Quality Certification, the 9th Circuit Court response and Endangered Species Act Consultation.

In his reply and thank you to Sally Toteff, Brett VandenHeuvel emphasizes the need for the SEPA analysis and a public comment period.

From: Toteff, Sally (ECY) [mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]
Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2009 4:58 PM
Subject: Update from Department of Ecology on Activities related to Bradwood Landing Pipeline and LNG Terminal Proposal

Bradwood Landing Pipeline and Terminal Update

August 27, 2009

Hello.  This email follows up on earlier updates I have sent you about Department of Ecology (Ecology) actions concerning the Bradwood Landing pipeline and terminal proposal.

State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Update. Cowlitz County and Ecology are co-leads on the SEPA process. Ecology continues to work with Cowlitz County to review and analyze FERC NEPA documents, comments and responses, to identify gaps that need to be addressed in the state and county’s joint SEPA review process.  Ecology expects to complete this first phase of review and analysis by late October.

Water Quality Certification. The SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act) analysis must be complete before Ecology can make a final decision on the 401 Water Quality Certification.  We expect to complete the SEPA process in Spring 2010.  NorthernStar withdrew and re-submitted an application for the 401 Certification. That starts a new 365-day clock for Ecology to issue a decision about the Certification.  Ecology will issue a new public notice this fall, and begin a new comment period.  Ecology will consider all comments we have received on previous public notices, and people will have the opportunity to submit new comments.

Update on the 9th Circuit Court response to Ecology’s petition. In September 2008, FERC awarded NorthernStar Natural Gas a federal license for a liquefied natural gas terminal at Bradwood Landing and for a pipeline through Southwest Washington. Ecology challenged FERC’s decision because of inadequacies with the federal environmental review (NEPA) and because we believe the decision violates section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act. FERC denied Ecology’s reconsideration request. Per the request of the parties, the Court has stayed the appeal schedule until September 4, 2009. It is anticipated that FERC will seek an extension of the stay for, at least, an additional 60 days. Petitions for rehearing are still pending before FERC.

Endangered Species Act Consultation. NorthernStar submitted their biological assessment to FERC in June.  FERC followed by requesting formal consultation with the NOAA and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  Those consultations are underway.

Best Regards,

Sally Toteff
Regional Director
Southwest Regional Office, Department of Ecology

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REPLY from Brett VandenHeuvel

We appreciate the update Sally.

On behalf of the citizens and groups who attended the LNG meeting last year, we really encourage Washington to take public comments on the gap analysis for the SEPA EIS. The gap analysis is the most important part of the process and strongly informs the quality of the final analysis.  Ecology identified major gaps in the FERC analysis and we want to ensure these gaps are filled during SEPA.  A public comment period can help the agency utilize the expertise of citizens who have spent a lot of time reviewing these projects.

I wish to thank Ecology for its strong position challenging the FERC license for Bradwood and the pipeline.  I recognize that your budget and staff are limited and it’s not easy to take on additional tasks.   We are impressed by your dedication to protecting the public and upholding the law.  It shows a strong united front when Oregon, Washington, tribes, citizens groups, and even NMFS all challenged FERC’s illegal decision.


Brett VandenHeuvel
Executive Director, Columbia Riverkeeper
724 Oak Street, Hood River, OR 97031
phone:  503 348-2436, fax: 541 387-3029
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