Renewed Hope in Keeping the Columbia River Free from LNG

Exciting news has happened to justify this writer's two-year involvement in this struggle.  With a new President and administration taking a positive stance on renewable energy and curbing dependence on imported fossil fuels, our outlook can remain positive.

Current status of the proposed LNG terminal at Bradwood OR


A Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS) is a key document at the local level.  It states that the project complies with local land use laws.  County Commissioners issued a LUCS to NorthernStar in March of 2008. Legal questions have arisen after a Referendum passed in September 2008, which overturned the Commissioners decision to allow pipelines to run through parks and open spaces.  County attorneys must respond to questions from the State Attorney General (AG).


1) The Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) January 27th decision further invalidates the LUCS on the basis that the County Commissioners improperly determined two important issues:  a)  the terminal and pipeline will not protect salmon and b)  the project is not small to medium. 

2) Governor Kulongoski, through his new AG, John Kroeger is appealing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) conditional approval.  The 9th Circuit Court can take a year to schedule oral arguments in a new case, and potentially 18 months to two years to resolve it. Columbia Riverkeepers, WHAS and other Coalition members are also filing a separate appeal.

3)  Mr. Kroeger will have excellent help from his newly appointed counsel on the environment, Brent Foster, the former Executive Director at Columbia Riverkeepers.  Brett VandenHeuvel is the new Executive Director of Riverkeepers.

4)  The Department of Land Conservation and Development, which determines if the project is consistent with the Coastal Zone Management Act, has stayed the project (delayed) for the 3rd time until May 13, 2009.  Additionally, the State of Oregon cannot legally process permits without a valid LUCS.

5)  The Salem Rally was a success with approximately 400 people in attendance. 


Kelliher resigned as head of FERC on January 20th, with the parting gesture of denying the Rehearing Request, which triggered the appeal to the 9th Circuit Court mentioned previously.

President Obama named Jon Wellinghoff as the new head.  As an energy law specialist, his private practice focused exclusively on client matter related to renewable energy, energy efficiency and distributed generation.  Wellinghoff was also the only dissenting vote for the Bradwood Terminal.


And as if all the above wasn't enough.…wait….there's more! It came to light in July of 2007 that the Palomar Pipeline was part and parcel of this many-headed hydra; it has now been proven, despite repeated denials.

WHAS and Salem Audubon Society have entered intervenor status with Columbia Riverkeepers and other environmental organizations.


Please send in your comments on LNG!
State of Washington Water Quality Certification: On Jan 9, 2009, Ecology issued a Public Notice for the NorthernStar Energy LLC application for a Water Quality Certification. Comments are due by March 9, 2009.

Information received from public comment will be compiled and reviewed by Ecology, and then considered during Ecology’s review process for the Certification. A final decision on Certification will be made after the SEPA process is complete.

The Public Notice is on Ecology’s website at: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/fed-permit/swro/SWRO_PNs.html, or individuals may request a hard copy by mail by contacting Donna Nicholson at 360-407-7058 and ask to be added to the mailing list.

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