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Oregon Bill Targets LNG Developers

In a reprise of legislation that died in committee last year, a proposal surfaced at the opening of the Oregon Legislature's new session that would require a needs assessment for any liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal or connecting pipeline tied to imports of new natural gas supplies into the state.

The action is supposedly in response to the state's three pending LNG terminal projects now in various stages of permitting (see NGI, Jan. 4).

In sponsoring the Domestic Resource Protection Act (HB 3616), state Rep. Chuck Riley indicated that he wants LNG facilities and associated pipelines to have to complete assessments proving the need for gas imports in the state. He made clear that it was in response to the three current proposed projects: Bradwood Landing, Jordan Cove and Oregon LNG. The latter project and Bradwood are to be located along the Columbia River near its mouth, and the Jordan project is to be sited along the south-central Pacific Coast at Coos Bay, OR.

Riley contends that none of the developers have yet proven the need for their projects, although a spokesperson for NorthernStar Natural Gas Corp.'s Bradwood Landing project, which hopes to break ground later this year, said the proposed law would be preempted by federal statutes.

HB 3616 would also require the LNG applicants to cover all the costs associated with their individual applications in the state and local processing of various permits. The savings Riley pointed to, however, were relatively modest in their dollar amounts compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars attributed to each project.

Riley alleged that the LNG proponents have too much power currently to seize land from private citizens, raising the possibility of costing the state's taxpayers what he called "millions of dollars" in potential legal fees as land owners appeal the proposed LNG facilities.

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