In a letter from one federal agency to another earlier in January, doubt was cast over NorthernStar Natural Gas's plans for building a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal along the Columbia River in Oregon and it stirred local news coverage. However, the project backers said they aren't concerned about it.

NorthernStar expects that when it provides more detailed information on its plans for the Bradwood Landing LNG facility to the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS), any concerns of the federal marine protection agency will be resolved. A NorthernStar spokesperson told NGI last Tuesday that it was all a "process" issue and the company won't have to refile its application to the Army Corps of Engineers.

NMFS's letter reportedly urged the Corps to deny NorthernStar a permit to dredge the river, at least until it provided more information to the marine fisheries unit.

The fisheries unit questioned whether the salmon and steelhead in the Columbia could be adequately protected if the Bradwood Landing LNG terminal and river dredging were to occur. NorthernStar plans to move 700,000 cubic yards of material from 46 acres of the riverbed to deepen it by more than nine feet.

The federal agency's concerns had been expected by NorthernStar officials. They told news media that when the agency has more information it will be able to approve the plans for Bradwood Landing.

News media reported that NMFS said it would be willing to reconsider its current negative position when it has more information. NorthernStar has proposed its own salmon recovery plan that would be funded by $50 million over a 35-year period from the company as a habitat recovery project.

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