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Bradwood LNG Backers See Permit Advance

In the three-way competition to build the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal along the U.S. West Coast, NorthernStar Natural Gas Corp.'s Bradwood Landing project in Oregon claimed last Wednesday to be less than three months away from clearing its joint federal endangered species impact review. FERC indicated in a letter that the consultation work will be finished by March 8.

The Dec. 8 start of the federal Endangered Species Act consultation marks "a major milestone" for the proposed project along the Columbia River in Oregon, according to NorthernStar President Paul Soanes, who thinks the consultation timing now puts his company's project on target to complete all of its permitting by this coming summer and begin construction later in 2010.

Bradwood Landing gained conditional approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 2008 and one of its rivals -- Jordan Cove, along the south-central Oregon coast -- did the same earlier in December. A third project, Oregon LNG with a site at the mouth of the Columbia River, is still in the FERC environmental review process.

In minimizing Bradwood's potential environmental impacts, Soanes emphasized what he called a "short" 36.3-mile connecting transmission pipeline to interconnect the LNG facilities with the existing interstate pipeline system serving the Portland, OR, metropolitan area. He characterized the project's "prime location" for making it potentially a key gas supplier to the general Northwest region.

The federal biological assessment is key, according to the Bradwood backers, because it will be used by various Oregon state agencies that still have to sign off on the project. "We have always viewed obtaining the biological opinion as a condition of receiving state permits and approvals, and we remain committed to meeting Oregon's standards and completing the same permitting process," Soanes said.

After receiving local land-use approvals from Clatsop County where the proposed terminal would be built, Bradwood received the heavily conditioned, 70,000-page FERC approval in September 2008.

NorthernStar's proposed terminal would be located on a 40-acre site at the former town site of Bradwood in Clatsop County, which is about 38 miles up the Columbia River -- the main economic artery for the Pacific Northwest. The project would provide up to 1.3 Bcf/d of natural gas to the region.

The Bradwood Landing project calls for the construction of a single ship berth capable of receiving and unloading LNG tankers with capacities ranging from 100,000 to 200,000 cubic meters; two 160,000-cubic-meter storage tanks; a 36.3-mile high-pressure pipeline in Clatsop and Columbia counties, OR, and Cowlitz County, WA; and associated pipeline support facilities.

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