Natural-gas pipeline planned through Oregon

A new natural-gas pipeline has been proposed that would extend 210 miles through the northwest corner of the state - including cutting 73 miles through public forests and crossing fifty streams and rivers. From the O:

At peak construction, Palomar Gas Transmission plans to employ up to 1,000 workers to clear brush and trees along a 120-foot-wide path, level terrain and bury the pipe in a trench 7 feet deep, according to the latest draft of a report filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Until now, environmental opposition to the Palomar project and a similar, competing proposal centered on concerns about possible pollution or spills from tankers crossing the Columbia River bar and transferring huge quantities of fuel at an estuary upstream from Astoria. New details about Palomar's proposed route expand the debate to include communities throughout northwest Oregon.

In all, the pipeline would extend 210 miles, feeding into a natural gas network east of the Cascades. Work crews would cut through public and private land using backhoes, rock cutters, tractor-mounted mechanical rippers and blasting tools. Palomar officials say they would minimize environmental damage while providing Oregonians with jobs and a reliable source of energy.

Critics say the project would degrade wildlife and fish habitat, destabilize soil, kill endangered species, spread invasive weeds, destroy patches of old-growth trees and open public forest to all-terrain vehicles.

Read the rest. Discuss.

Comments

  • No_LNG (unverified)
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    I think this will cement opposition to it. They want to connect the LNG terminal to the gas pipeline that feeds California. No longer is the LNG terminal solving a local "problem", but now its solving part of California's problem. I don't think Oregonians (nor our legistlators) want to go to such lengths to help out California. They can build their own LNG terminal.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Addiction leads to desperate behavior whenever the fix is in doubt. A junkie will spend all night searching for the dose that will keep her content for a few hours more. We will tear up and poison our garden to keep the fossil fuel running into the veins of our economy.

    It is possible for a junkie to conquer addiction, but first she must face that addiction and resolve to heal. Our society is not at that point yet. We continue to ruin the land and the water and the air. We continue to oppress and steal from others. We continue to ruin our lives in order to continue our lifestyle.

    It appears that we must hit bottom hard before we can begin to climb out of this hellish hole.

  • Randle McMurphy (unverified)
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    I believe there is clear federal jurisdiction over this project, meaning that Oregon officials have little influence over whether the project happens (probably only some siting issues before county governments).

    Somebody please correct me if I am wrong, but I do not believe the legislature or the AG can do anything regarding the LNG controversy. We are in the FERC's hands.

  • Peter Bray (unverified)
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    Yes, it is my understanding also that this is totally a federal issue (so much for state's rights!)... however, the LNG pipeline is only necessary if there are LNG terminals on the coast at Astoria, Warrenton, etc. Kulongoski does have some leverage to stop those, but, as he is anti-environment and cowardly, he has shown no real spine to do much beyond a few words.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    I do not think the governor is anti-environment. He is, however, pro-economic developmnet, which often leads to allowing a lot of environmental degradation for a few jobs. My guess is that he has supported the terminals because the unions have supported them.

  • . . . but wait (unverified)
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    @ Peter and Tom

    According to the Oregonian map this pipeline doesn't even get CLOSE to the coast - what do the potential terminals out there have to do with it?? Is this a completely separate pipeline?

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    When Cogentrics proposed their natural gas power plant in southern Jefferson Co. about 9 years ago (and there was no opposition on this from our "environmental" friends in the Willamette Valley), we learned all sorts of interesting things about the power and gas lines here.

    Like - the power lines that pass through here go to Las Vegas. Any locally produced power will be shipped down the line to Las Vegas.

    Like - the gas lines as they go through the sub-irrigation strata of the valley floors, break up the sub-irrigation. The earth distrubance brings water to the surface for evaporation where the pipeline cuts the earth, and down stream the water is just gone. The Richardson Ranch northeast of Madras can show you what was once productive farm fields that died due to the pipeline.

    Like - the gas pipelines are incredibly accessible. If I were a terrorist (and of course I'm not), this would be a huge and easy target.

    But on the good side - what a property tax boon for the Counties that this pipeline will go through. These things are worth millions and millions and can bring in major property tax! In fact, I think we ought to have a pipeline surcharge for gas that travels through our State (opps, well I guess the Constitution prohibits that sort of Interstate Commerence nonsense!). But we can tax the heck out of the pipelines themselves!

    If it gets that far, which it shouldn't.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Yes, this pipeline route would serve an upriver terminal. It's a matter of finding the route that generates the least political resistance, and hoping that job-hungry localities will compete for hosting the potential bomb site.

  • Sergio (unverified)
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    The pipeline, and even the siting for LNG terminals, is almost exclusively in the hands of federal agencies. Even the Governor has very little power to prevent these terminals and pipeline. The only reason Gov. Schwarzenegger was able to veto the LNG terminal proposal in California was because the site proposal was for an offshore facility, and Schwarzenegger had veto power under the Deep Water Port Act.
    Because the Oregon proposals are located on land, Gov. Kulongoski does not have that option avaiable to him.

    Both Governor Kulongoski, and Rep. DeFazio have urged the federal authorities to place a moratorium on evaluating Oregon's terminal proposals. They are concerned that communications between, and the standards of, the various federal authorities need to be looked at.

    On another note, the pipeline, while it does go to California, would also serve Oregon.

  • Tim (unverified)
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    Maybe you guys should do a little research before you start talking about something you have no idea about. Details matter. There are currently 5 pipeline proposals for Oregon. And by the way, it is not LNG in the pipeline. Just normal natural gas. The same natural gas that flows through many thousands of miles of current pipelines in the state already...some going to CA. Shocking. The CA gas market affects the Oregon market so if some of the gas in the proposed pipelines goes to CA, that is good for prices here. NW gas mostly is coming from Canada now and some of the proposals are talking about gas from LNG and some from domestic sources in Wyoming. Some pipelines will be built even if LNG does not happen so brace yourself.....some pipelines will be built. I know many of you think that wind, geothermal and solar can keep the lights on in Oregon, but it is not reality and natural gas will keep us whole as we ramp up renewables, which will be some time, especially if those lower snake dams and klamath dams are removed. Hard to replace renewable, hydro with coal these days or nuclear for that matter so get used to natural gas being around for awhile. The last time I checked, Oregon is growing by leaps and bounds so if you want to keep the lights on with a cleaner fuel that is realistic in the next couple decades ahead, natural gas is in the picture. Sorry, but don't confuse the truth with the facts.

  • Nick (unverified)
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    For what it's worth, the Hillsboro Argus, Daily Astorian and others have been covering this for months, as has the Big O's business section. It's only been since politicos started coming out on the project that it's gotten more play – peaking, I think, this weekend with Barack Obama directly commenting on the matter. (and oops to the M-T for referring to the FEMA, not FERC, process.)

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Tim,

    You work from your choice of suppositions and values. Other folks who may work from different ones. The facts you mention do not really affect this discussion. Do you know anyone who believes that LNG flows long distances through pipelines? As to what is Oregon's future and how it should be powered, I believe you find many Oregonians who disagree with you.

  • TH (unverified)
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    If anyone is interested in this topic a bit more, there are other sources besides the Traditional Media.

    The Chair of the Clatsop Commission has a New LNG blog post up.

    Northwest Property Rights has a Website.

    Northcoastoregon.com has been covering the meetings.

  • Bob McDonald (unverified)
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    Here is a link to my web page about why LNG is a bad idea: http://www.drbobfororegon.com/?q=issues/environment/LNG

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