Bradwood Landing Pulls the Plug! Victory on the Columbia!

Bradwood Landing Pulls the Plug! Victory on the Columbia!

Join Columbia Riverkeeper in celebrating a major victory in protecting Columbia River salmon and fishermen from LNG!  This victory is for those who stood up to protect our land, water, rivers, and salmon.  Thanks to you all for your support and perseverance.  We couldn't have done it without a massive team effort. 

Bradwood Suspends LNG Project: LNG Opponents Declare Victory

  Astoria, OR – A broad coalition of citizen groups celebrated today as NorthernStar Natural Gas suspended its attempt to build the Bradwood liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the Columbia River, near Astoria, Oregon.  Facing huge opposition from farm, fishing, forest, and environmental groups, Bradwood LNG’s announcement generated swift reaction from people throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington.

  Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper, explained the significance of the groups’ victory over the Bradwood LNG project. “LNG has no place in Oregon.  This is a tremendous victory for family farmers, fisherman, and Columbia River salmon.  This is proof that Oregonians will fight to protect our resources and our livelihoods.”

  Farmers threatened by the proposed LNG  pipelines rejoiced after hearing that Bradwood LNG had suspended its project. “Thousands of us have been living under a cloud of having our farms condemned for these wrong-headed LNG schemes. We look forward to being able to work our lands without interference from LNG speculators, ” said Steve Wick, a Yamhill County filbert grower. 

 George Exum, a resident of Puget Island, WA who lives within a mile of the suspended Bradwood project, lauded the hard work and cooperation of Oregon and Washington residents in protecting their community from Texas-based NorthernStar.  “All the efforts of citizens in Washington and Oregon who saw the economic and environmental harm threatened by Bradwood Landing LNG have paid off. This is a great victory for the Columbia River and the communities who rely on it for their livelihood.”

  Olivia Schmidt, organizer for Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club, welcomed the decision as a victory for clean energy in Oregon.  “By rejecting Bradwood LNG, Oregonians have rejected increasing their dependence on a destructive, expensive, imported fossil fuel.

  At the same time, we have protected Oregon’s water, air quality, and communities.”

  Bradwood Landing faced legal challenges by the states of Oregon and Washington, the Nez Perce Tribe, Columbia Riverkeeper, Columbia River Business Alliance, Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club, and others.




LNG developer pulls the plug on Bradwood Landing project

By Ted Sickinger, The Oregonian

May 04, 2010, 5:19PM

Bradwood Landing was an industrial site from 1856 until 1965. It housed a lumber mill, company town and deep water port.Ending a six-year effort that consumed as much as $100 million, countless hours of regulatory work, and engendered a firestorm of public opposition, NorthernStar Natural Gas said this afternoon that it was suspending efforts to develop a liquefied natural gas import terminal at Bradwood Landing on the Columbia River, 25 miles east of Astoria.

The Houston based energy development company sent out a one-page news release this afternoon quoting NorthernStar president Paul Soanes saying "the extended delays in the processing of state and federal permits for Bradwood Landing and the difficult investment environment have forced us to suspend development." 

The company characterized its move as a "suspension" of the project, not a termination.

Mike Carrier, Gov. Ted Kulongoski's natural resources policy director, said the company told him today that another developer could conceivably resurrect the effort. But Carrier said that NorthernStar told him that its investment backer, a private equity fund that has put $100 million into the company's LNG development efforts in Oregon and California, is pulling the plug.

Project opponents celebrated Bradwood's announcement.

Bradwood Landing Read The Oregonian's continuing coverage of Bradwood Landing."It's a huge victory for Oregonians, for familty farms, for clean water, for salmon habitat, for fisherman," said Brett Vandenheuvel, executive director of the conservation group Columbia Riverkeeper. "LNG has no placer in Oregon, not only Bradwood Landing but the other two LNG terminals are not viable projects in Oregon either. 

Two other companies are in federal and state permitting processes for LNG terminals in Oregon. One just west of Astoria on the Columbia River and the other in Coos Bay. Those projects are also competing with a new pipeline that would import more gas from Wyoming to Oregon and California.

NorthernStar began development work nearly six years ago on the project, at a time when gas prices were high and the importation of natural gas to the United States from abroad seemed like a lucrative opportunity.

In addition to regulatory delays, NorthernStar's investors were doubtless focusing on the fact that domestic reserves of natural gas have soared with the use of new drilling techniques to access unconventional shale reserves, and the price of gas has plummeted with the recession

Bradwood suspension also has implications for a controversial 200-mile pipeline that NorthWest Natural Gas Co. and TransCanada were planning to build to connect the LNG terminal with an interstate pipeline in Central Oregon, near Madras.

Neither company returned calls this afternoon.

-- Ted Sickinger

© 2010 All rights reserved.  


NorthernStar halts Bradwood Landing LNG project

By Tony Lystra / The Daily News | Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 11:42 pm

NorthernStar Natural Gas announced Tuesday it will suspend efforts to build a $650 million liquefied natural gas terminal on the Columbia River east of Astoria because the company can't attract investors and doesn't know if it will get government approval.

The decision came after nearly a half-decade and tens of millions of dollars spent to overcome regulatory hurdles and win over investors, interest groups and the public.

The Houston-based company said investors had become leery of the project, known as Bradwood Landing, and that the prospects of gaining environmental permits had become too unpredictable.

"The extended delays in the processing of state and federal permits for Bradwood Landing and the difficult investment environment have forced us to suspend development," NorthernStar president Paul Soanes said in a statement. "In particular, the challenging regulatory environment gives investors pause."

It was unclear Tuesday whether the company would attempt to regroup and attract new investors. Reached Tuesday evening, NorthernStar spokesman Charles Deister declined to comment beyond the company's written announcement.

Still, the project's opponents celebrated, saying their long battle with NorthernStar was coming to a close.

"To have this finally be over is just a weight lifted off our shoulders," said Lexington resident Gayle Kiser, who leads the anti-LNG group Landowners and Citizens for a Safe Community.

NorthernStar proposed bringing giant LNG tankers 38 miles up the Columbia, where superchilled gas would be unloaded into two 11-story storage tanks. The gas would be reheated and sent to market through a pipeline crossing the Columbia River and connecting with the Williams' natural gas pipeline just north of Kelso.

The terminal's critics said it would pose environmental and safety risks, threaten tourism in Astoria and endanger other commerce on the river, particularly by slowing river traffic to accommodate strict security measures surrounding LNG vessels.

They also suggested LNG terminals aren't needed because new techniques for extracting natural gas from shale have increased the domestic supply.

In a written statement, Brett VandenHeuvel, the executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper, an environmental group that has been the terminal's most vocal critic, called NorthernStar's announcement "a tremendous victory."

Like some other Cowlitz County residents, Kiser could have lost land to accommodate NorthernStar's pipeline. The project, she said Tuesday, posed a threat to her property values and "our basic human safety."

"It has been four long years, but we have shown what a small group of dedicated citizens can do when we band together," she said.

Tuesday's announcement was sudden and unexpected. A spokeswoman for Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski told The Associated Press Tuesday that the governor was surprised by NorthernStar's announcement. Late Monday night, the company was sending out politically charged e-mails criticizing its opponents, just as it had in previous months.

NorthernStar said in January that it was nearing the end of the long federal and state approval process for the terminal, and it expected to begin construction by the end of this year. Only last summer, it said it had recently raised "tens of millions" of dollars to see the project through.

In September 2008, the company secured a permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates the siting of LNG terminals. But the terminal still needed permits from Oregon officials, who were irritated that the federal government gave its approval before local jurisdictions had a chance to vet the project.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality told NorthernStar in February it probably wouldn't approve a Clean Water Act permit, crucial to the project, because the company hadn't provided key information. The deadline for the permit's approval is Friday.

Kiser said negotiations between NorthernStar and the National Marine Fisheries Service also seemed bogged down.

NorthernStar has said its terminal would create more than 450 temporary construction jobs and 65 permanent jobs, contribute more than $7.8 million in taxes to Clatsop County and reduce natural gas costs.

Two other LNG terminals - one west of Astoria and another in Coos Bay - are still planned in Oregon.


Opponents celebrate Bradwood LNG project suspension

The Daily Astorian

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

NorthernStar Natural Gas has suspended its Bradwood Landing liquified natural gas import terminal after five years of development efforts.

In a news release sent Tuesday, company president Paul Soanes said "extended delays in the processing of state and federal permits for Bradwood Landing and the difficult investment environment have forced us to suspend development."

"In particular, the challenging regulatory environment gives investors pause," he said.

The project, proposed for a site 25 miles east of Astoria on the Columbia River, included a 36.3-mile pipeline extending from the terminal to an interstate gas pipeline near Kelso, Wash. Another pipeline proposed by Northwest Natural and TransCanada would have connected the Bradwood facility to a natural gas hub in Molalla.

Houston-based NorthernStar has leaped the most regulatory hurdles of the three LNG terminals proposed in Oregon. But a legal challenge from the state of Oregon and conflicts with Clatsop County's local land-use laws and state water-quality regulations have stalled the company's progress and raised questions about the viability of the project.

The proposed $650 million LNG facility initially received approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Clatsop County Commission in 2008. But those approvals have been appealed. Other permits needed by the company to begin construction - including a biological opinion from National Marine Fisheries Service on impacts to threatened and endangered salmon and authorizations from Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for air and water emissions - have been slow to materialize.

The chief LNG opponent group, Columbia Riverkeeper, has protested the development every step of the way and recently succeeded in stalling the local land-use approval a second time with a successful challenge to the?Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals.

Last month, LUBA kicked two issues back to the Clatsop County regarding the size and scale of the facility and its plans to protect salmon and traditional fishing grounds. Research shows the Bradwood site is a popular place for juvenile salmon to feed as they migrate out of the Columbia River to the ocean.

NorthernStar had launched a $59 million voluntary, yet "legally binding," Salmon Enhancement Initiative in conjunction with the project.

Soanes said the project would have created hundreds of jobs and provided a new source of energy that would have stabilized costs for thousands of businesses in the region.

"While we're disappointed, we are truly grateful for the tremendous support the project received from citizens in Clatsop County and Oregon's business and labor communities," Soanes said.

NorthernStar listed project supporters including the Oregon AFL-CIO, the Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council, the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council, the Oregon Machinists Council, the Washington Machinists Council, Carpenters Local 1707, the International Longshore Workers' Union and the Steamship Operators Association.

In Astoria, cell phones of project opponents were ringing off the hook as the news of the suspension came in Tuesday afternoon.

"Hallelujah!" said project opponent and Brownsmead resident Ted Messing. "Thank you to the citizens of the Lower Columbia on behalf of the salmon."

Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director for Columbia Riverkeeper, said the suspension is long overdue.

"This is a huge victory for Oregonians," he said. "There's been incredible statewide opposition for years. ... This project just does not make sense. It never did."


In Our View: LNG Looks DOA

Work on Columbia River terminal is suspended by Houston company

The Columbian

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Opponents of a liquefied natural gas terminal that was proposed for the lower Columbia River often were falsely categorized as "anti-LNG." The truth is, those opponents - including The Columbian - are "pro-river." We have said for years that the environmentally fragile Columbia River estuary is a horrible place to build a deepwater LNG port and, in this case, a 38-mile pipeline from the twin-tanks terminal to Kelso. That pipeline would have been gouged under the river and the Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge near Cathlamet.

Our opposition was based on the site, not natural gas itself as a form of energy, one that happens to heat many homes throughout the Northwest. And as you might already have deduced, for the first time since our opposition to this project began, we are pleased to be using a few past-tense verbs in describing it. Houston-based NorthernStar Natural Gas announced on Tuesday that it is suspending work on the proposed LNG terminal at Bradwood Landing. That's on the Oregon side of the river about 60 miles northwest of Vancouver and 20 miles east of Astoria. Although the company used the term "suspended" and not "terminated," the decision is a victory for anyone who loves the beautiful Columbia River estuary.

Furthermore, NorthernStar's retreat signals a triumph for people who believe the petroleum industry, although a valid part of our national energy policy, belongs elsewhere. We hasten to point out that recent highly publicized accidents - though tragic in terms of lives lost and environment threatened - are no cause for Americans to overreact and demand an immediate transformation of the oil industry. Yes, accidents such as the expanding spill from the offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, or last month's fire at a Bellingham refinery that killed seven workers, must lead to intensive research and reform efforts. But, no more than a plane crash should cause instant abandonment of that form of travel, no rational person would insist that recent oil industry accidents must cause an immediate halt to that form of energy production. More realistically, the transition from fossil fuel production to the consumption of safe and renewable energy sources will take many years.

Still, those accidents add clarity to the call to keep the oil business from gaining a bigger foothold in the Pacific Northwest.

NorthernStar officials insisted all along that LNG transport is safe. They unveiled compelling statistics. They also pointed to their proposed $59 million Salmon Enhancement Initiative as a reason to support the riverfront terminal. But here's a key question: If the Bradwood LNG terminal carried so little potential harm to the environment, why would a highly competitive company quickly and boldly offer $59 million to mitigate any environmental impact?

Speaking of economic issues, that could have been what drove NorthernStar's decision to stop work at Bradwood, more so than any permitting complexities or the constant hassle of challenges from environmentalists. The Oregonian reported that an adviser to Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski said a private equity fund that put $100 million into the project had withdrawn from it. Also, NorthernStar might have felt competitive heat from other efforts to expedite movement of natural gas into this region, such as a proposed pipeline that would carry natural gas from domestic supplies east of here.

Whatever the reason, the Bradwood LNG project appears dead in the water ... for now. Congratulations to U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, the Columbia Riverkeeper environmental activist group and others who led the large and effective opposition to what would have become the first LNG seaport terminal in the Northwest.


Read NorthernStar's Press Release here