Oregon officials plan to hold a limited rehearing on an earlier land-use decision for a pipeline that would serve a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at the mouth of the Columbia River.

Although the LNG project's backers sought the rehearing, one of the motivators for the Clatsop County's Board of Commissioners was the explosion and fire on the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. pipeline in San Bruno, CA (see related story). As long as the rehearing is limited, Oregon LNG CEO Peter Hansen said he is supportive of the county taking one more look at the proposed 122-mile, 36-inch diameter pipeline.

Hansen said his company asked for a hearing, as did opponents of the LNG project, because two of the proposed conditions appeared to contradict one another or would not allow any deviation in the current proposed pipeline route.

"There is always the possibility that during the detailed design work, we would encounter some issues that would cause us to want to alter the route," said Hansen, noting that any infrastructure project of this size needs some flexibility. He said generally the route does not traverse any populated areas, which is in contrast to the suburban home development where the pipeline failed in California.

Opponents of the proposed Oregon LNG terminal at Warrenton, OR, and an associated pipeline said the county board's decision was a pleasant surprise. At issue was whether the board should affirm an earlier conditioned approval for the pipeline by a local planning commission hearing officer (see NGI, Aug. 30), reject it or grant a full or limited rehearing. The board chose the limited rehearing.

Hansen said Oregon LNG is only looking for clarification of some of the language in two of the conditions, and he thinks the limited hearing can do that. "We're happy with it," he said.

The proposed pipeline would run southeasterly into the Portland area with a 10-mile, 24-inch-diameter pipeline lateral connecting to the Northwest Natural Gas distribution backbone system and the Mist gas storage field.

Hansen said Oregon LNG is expecting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's biological assessment within the next month and a draft environmental impact statement from the Commission in October or November.

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