Palomar LNG Pipeline Indefinitely Delayed

Nick Engelfried

Construction for the Palomar pipeline was originally supposed to have begun by this summer. As it is, the project is nowhere near breaking ground.

It looks like the grassroots progressive movement that’s come together to oppose high-carbon liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Oregon is having an effect. In May, NorthernStar Natural Gas pulled the plug on it proposed Bradwood LNG terminal on the Columbia. Now comes news released yesterday, that the Palomar LNG pipeline, which was originally supposed to connect to Bradwood, is for all practical purposes suspended.

Palomar Gas Transmission has placed the permit for its pipeline on indefinite delay. The company has pointed to Bradwood’s failure, which calls into question where exactly the gas for Palomar was supposed to come from, as a primary reason. In my own opinion, the activism of hundreds of Oregonians concerned about Palomar’s impact on forests, farmland, endangered species, and the climate also doubtless has something to do with the suspension. Companies supporting Palomar, such as NW Natural Gas, have felt more and more heat from activists in the last several months as it becomes increasingly apparent Palomar is an economically unwise project.

Granted, this delay in the permitting process for Palomar doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the pipeline—yet. Palomar Gas Transmission claims to be looking for new ways to keep Palomar afloat, in light of Bradwood LNG’s collapse and other obstacles. But it’s going to be hard for the company to find financial support for a project that’s already proved to be such a nightmare. According to Mount Hood conservation group Bark, initial construction for the Palomar pipeline was originally supposed to have begun by this summer. As it is, the project is nowhere near breaking ground.

Any company that wants to try and revive Palomar will have to ask itself whether it’s worth risking a major public relations disaster. Palomar has precious few friends left in Oregon: farmers, timber growers, fishers, conservationists, and climate advocates have all raised their voices against LNG pipelines. These groups won’t go away until the Palomar project is officially dead.

The suspension of Palomar marks a victory for activists who have been working hard to defeat the pipeline, and is another testament to the power of grassroots organizing in Oregon. Palomar is looking less and less viable all the time. Now can we go ahead and cancel it already?

Comments

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    The delay in or suspension of construction (destruction) is great- thanks for posting this and great thanks to all who've raised voice against the pipeline.

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    Transparency statement: I've worked in a volunteer capacity with various groups and organizations trying to stop the Palomar pipeline. In this post I speak only for myself.

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    I live just a few miles from the first proposed terminus of the Palomar pipeline near Shaniko where it would tie into the existing North/South lines. The proposed re-route through the Warm Springs Reservation would have eliminanted two concerns. If this proposal is revived and the Maupin area crossing is revived I would encourage opponents and supporters as well actually to look at these two related concerns in greater detail even though these relate more to the end of the line in the less popluated area. First, the proposed crossing of the pipeline over the Deschutes where the pipeline would actually be elevated and exposed above the River. Second, the close proximity of this route from Maupin to Shaniko along Bakeoven Road to the Maupin Earthquake Swarm. I won't take time to explain the swarm but there is ample info available on any search engine. One can easily examine Polomar and USGS maps to see what I am talking about. We live near two major natural gas pipelines now and I don't know of any problems but watch BP in the Gulf experiencing a worse case scenario one can only speculate if the pipeline was ruptured in an earth quake and the natural gas spewed into the Deschutes.

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    OK, you are a strong advocate for shutting Boardman in 4 years and against any pipelines for LNG and I presume CNG. Please tell me what you propose replace the lost generating capacity, let alone any increase demand requirements.

    Wind, solar (at $0.55/KwH - $0.65/KwH) and geothermal are all cute and sexy, but do not amount to even 10% of the equation.

    Also, thereare piplines currently existing all over the country, when was the last pipeline rupture due to earthquake? I am aware of a pipeline explosion outside Bellingham, WA about 10 years ago, but that was a gasoline explosion, not LNG.

    Your stand on fossil fuels is understood, but do you completely discount use of natural gas as a bridge fuel?

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