Wu, Kulongoski Seek New LNG Reportby Cassandra Profita
The Daily Astorian, May 15, 2008
Pressure mounts for more scrutiny of Bradwood project
Pressure is mounting for federal regulators to amend their environmental review of the Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas project.
U.S. Rep. David Wu joined Gov. Ted Kulongoski this week in asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to create a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Bradwood project to address recent design changes and the state's energy needs report released Friday.
If drafted, a supplemental report would be subject to a 45-day public review, which could delay the final licensing decision.
The state's energy study concluded Oregon will need more natural gas in the future but domestic gas piped in from the Rocky Mountains would be a viable alternative to imported LNG, which likely would be more expensive than the domestic gas.
The requests from Wu and Kulongoski follow an earlier call from the anti-LNG group Columbia Riverkeeper for additional scrutiny of the Bradwood proposal. In a letter to FERC last month, the group detailed numerous changes to the proposed Bradwood facility design since FERC issued its first review of the project's environmental impacts last August.
Among the changes listed are a retraction of the company's guarantee that all of its LNG delivery tankers' will have screens to protect fish during ballast water intakes, changes to the 36-mile pipeline route and dredge material disposal sites and a possible change in the regasification method to one that requires Columbia River water.
"These are substantial changes, and their possible effects on the environment and the surrounding communities must be considered," Wu said in a letter to FERC sent Tuesday. "I firmly believe that any Environmental Impact Statement that does not take into account the (Oregon Department of Energy) report or the changes to the Bradwood Landing proposal cannot adequately address the true effects of the proposed facility or the needs of the environment and Oregon communities."
Joe Desmond, spokesman for Bradwood project developer NorthernStar Natural Gas Inc., said the project has not changed substantially since the first environmental review. The changes in the pipeline route are still within the broader corridor outlined in the draft environmental impact statement, he said, and the regasification method has not changed in the project description submitted to FERC.
The state's energy needs assessment has limited value in the federal licensing process, he said.
"ODOE accurately describes the need for natural gas in the region and the increasingly important role that natural gas will play to meet Oregon's future clean energy needs," he said. "However, the (report) represents a snapshot in time and is not a forecast of future market conditions."
For example, he said, if none of the proposed pipelines from the Rocky Mountains are built, that natural gas will no longer be a viable alternative to LNG.
Rather than having FERC draft a supplemental environmental review, Desmond said his company would prefer to wait for the final report to be released and then address any remaining problems.
"To the extent that any issues raised by the state which are required to be addressed in the DEIS are not adequately addressed when FERC issues its Final Environmental Impact Statement, Bradwood Landing would prepare an addendum to that report for review and comment," he said.
Desmond said the addendum would be open to public review before FERC makes a licensing decision on the project.
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