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FERC Sets Environmental Review For Oregon LNG Project

FERC last Friday set the environmental review process for a second liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project in Oregon, outlining the schedule for the Oregon LNG project along the Columbia River near Warrenton, in Clatsop County.

The move by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) kicks off the process for writing a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS), which is expected by mid-year, according to Peter Hansen, project manager for Oregon LNG's proposed terminal and connecting 36-inch diameter 86.8-mile transmission pipeline.

The DEIS review will be conducted jointly on the proposed 1 Bcf/d LNG export facility near the mouth of the Columbia River and Northwest Pipeline Co.’s proposed expansion in Washington of an existing spur that would feed up to 1.2 Bcf/d into an interconnected Oregon LNG pipeline.

FERC indicated that it plans to issue the final EIS on Feb. 12, 2016, and the 90-day federal authorized decision by May 12, 2016. "If a schedule change becomes necessary, an additional notice will be provided," FERC said.

An original notice of its intent to do an environmental review was published by FERC in 2012. The Oregon LNG project, backed by Leucadia National Corp., has struggled with delays and denials in the local permitting process, particularly with county officials in Oregon (see Daily GPI, Dec. 24, 2014).

Throughout the permitting process, however, Hansen has remained optimistic that processing would move forward at FERC (see Daily GPI, Oct. 14, 2013), contending that Oregon LNG does not need a disputed Clatsop County permit. "Having local permits is just one option for demonstrating consistency under the Coastal Zone Management Act -- and it is not the only option," Hansen told NGI late last year.

In the upcoming DEIS process, a number of federal agencies will be involved in various aspects of the application, including the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Department of Energy, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in the Department of Transportation.

Among the issues that they will be examining are potential geologic hazards (earthquakes, landslides), aquatic resources, waterbodies and wetlands, threatened and endangered species, pipeline construction in populated residential areas, ship traffic/fishing, economic impacts, and safety/security, including LNG carrier traffic in the waterways involved.

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