Governor Cites Problems with
by Associated Press
SALEM, Ore. - Gov. Ted Kulongoski told federal energy officials Tuesday they need to do a better job of analyzing the environmental impact of plans to build a liquefied natural gas terminal near the mouth of the Columbia River.
The governor wrote the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that he was not opposed to building any LNG terminals in Oregon.
But Kulongoski said the analysis of the Bradwood Landing proposal near Astoria fails to show the need for such a facility, back up technical claims with science, or provide detailed information on mitigation for environmental damage, such as salmon habitat.
Northern Star Natural Gas has proposed building a terminal at Bradwood Landing, 20 miles east of Astoria, to take delivery of LNG from ships. The fuel would then be distributed by pipeline around the region. Plans to build a pipeline from the terminal to Mollala has drawn opposition from local farmers. The governor added that dredging the Columbia will harm fish and wildlife habitat and water quality, and the measures proposed to make up for the damage are not adequate.
The proposal fails to fully consider the safety of local communities, or Oregon's role in preparing for emergencies, the governor added. And there are no assurances that Northern Star will make up for emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, or set aside enough money to retire the terminal when its life is done or if it goes bankrupt.
FERC has analyzed the proposal in a 600-page draft environmental impact statement. Public comments must be submitted by Dec. 24. The final environmental impact statement is due in spring.
Kulongoski said state agencies were already analyzing the proposal when Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which took authority for that process away from states and gave it to FERC. He noted the state has the last word on clean water, clean air and coastal planning issues.
The state Economic and Community Development Department has said the project would offer 50 permanent jobs and increase property tax revenue for Clatsop County. Building the facility would create 300 construction jobs a year for three years.
Supporters contend that the new gas supply and pipelines would bolster the state's economy and protect ratepayers from price shocks as natural gas supplies tighten.
Other LNG terminals are proposed for Warrenton and Coos Bay.
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