Statement by Columbia Riverkeeper’s Executive Director, Brett VandenHeuvel:
“We call on Governor Brown to deny the Oregon LNG project in light of today’s decision from the City of Warrenton. Warrenton’s Hearings Officer denied critical land use permits for the Oregon LNG terminal and pipeline. Under Oregon law, the state cannot issue permits without local land use approvals.
“Liquefied natural gas (LNG) development flies in the face of Governor Brown’s commitment to combat climate change and promote clean energy. With Warrenton’s decision today, combined with Clatsop County’s rejection of the LNG pipeline, the Governor and the agencies she oversees have ample authority to send Oregon LNG packing.
“The Governor has heard loud and clear from people across Oregon. Livelihoods are on the line. From farmers who would lose productive cropland to fisherman who would lose access to important fishing grounds, people are looking to Governor Brown’s leadership to end this decade-long cloud of uncertainty.”
- City of Warrenton Hearings Officer Final Order on Oregon LNG 2016.03.04
- Notice of Hearings Office Decision on Oregon LNG 2016.03.04
An impartial City of Warrenton Hearings Officer ruled that the project would interfere with public trust rights, violate local laws to protect salmon, and periodically block public access to traditional fishing grounds. Oregon LNG has the right to appeal the hearings officer’s final order to the Warrenton City Council. The City of Warrenton ruled:
"[T]he project will unreasonably interfere with significant public trust rights in the form of adverse impacts to fish habitat in this portion of the Lower Columbia River Estuary . . .” Final Order at 30.
The Hearings Officer noted the proposed dredging of the Columbia River for LNG tankers and the extensive filling of wetlands:
“Regarding the significance of the project’s impact, again, the Officer cannot credit the applicant’s attempts to minimize the impacts of the 109-acre dredge footprint and ~35-acre permanent wetland impact, which state and federal environmental agencies regarded as significant.” Final Order at 47.
The Oregon LNG company proposes building an LNG terminal in Warrenton, Oregon, and exporting North American natural gas to overseas markets. The project requires building over 200 miles of new, high-pressure gas pipeline through Oregon and Washington that would cross salmon-bearing streams, the Columbia River, farms, forestland, and close to homes. LNG uses fracked gas, recognized as a significant contributor to climate change.
Among the project’s many regional impacts, the company proposes dredging an area the size of 102 football fields in the Columbia River. Oregon LNG selected the most popular sport and commercial salmon fishing area on the Columbia for its massive dock and ship turning basin (i.e., the area proposed for dredging). The gas pipeline requires using eminent domain and restricting how landowners can use property within the pipeline easement. In 2013, Clatsop County denied a 41-mile long segment of gas pipeline to the terminal. The state has not acted on multiple permits to build and operate the LNG project.
About Columbia Riverkeeper
Columbia Riverkeeper’s mission is to protect and restore the water quality of the Columbia River and all life connected to it, from the headwaters to the Pacific Ocean. Representing over 10,000 members and supporters, Columbia Riverkeeper works to restore a Columbia River where people can safely eat the fish they catch, and where children can swim without fear of toxic exposure. The organization is a member of Waterkeeper Alliance, the world’s fastest growing environmental movement, uniting more than 200 Waterkeeper organizations worldwide. For more information go to columbiariverkeeper.org.