Opposing political voices across the river in Washington state are growing in number and volume regarding NorthernStar Natural Gas Co.'s proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal at Bradwood Landing, OR, in the Columbia River, the main economic artery for the Pacific Northwest. Three state legislators joined the chorus last Thursday, and a Feb. 28 U.S. Coast Guard report is being interpreted as classifying the site as "unsuitable."

The lawmakers expressed "grave concerns about the cumulative effects" of the proposed LNG project in a joint statement. They are state Sen. Brian Hatfield, and lower house Reps. Brian Blake and Dean Takko, all Democrats, joining one of their state's U.S. House members, Brian Baird, in actively opposing the proposal.

A Coast Guard report on river waterway suitability originally spurred the congressman to come out against NorthernStar's proposed LNG receiving terminal earlier in March (see Daily GPI, March 8). With a district in southwest Washington that borders parts of the proposed facility's shipping lanes, Baird (D-WA) said the Coast Guard report provides "enough compelling evidence" to oppose the LNG terminal.

The three state lawmakers said the federal report "clearly stated" that Bradwood Landing was unsuitable without extensive measures to improve safety and security. They said the security requirements alone "will have a strong impact not only on Oregon, but on Puget Island half-a-mile across from Bradwood.

"We oppose the siting of the proposed LNG terminal, and the proposed natural gas pipeline through Cowlitz County, due to grave concerns over the cumulative effects of the project," the three said. "Specifically, the security and safety problems identified in the Coast Guard's preliminary report, effects on shipping and recreation, eminent domain issues, and environmental risks outweigh any potential economic benefits."

Objections from landowners near or in the proposed pipeline route and negative impacts on the commercial fishing industry were also cited.

While the state officials acknowledged that LNG siting falls under federal jurisdiction, their joint statement urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and federal government generally, including Congress, to "listen to the concerns of the Coast Guard, local residents, federal, state and local elected officials, and find a more suitable location for the LNG terminal and pipeline."

Baird said earlier in the month that the local economic, environmental and people impacts are too great to permit Bradwood to host an LNG terminal.

NorthernStar officials have maintained that the Coast Guard concerns can be mitigated against, and it still fully expects to have the site permitted by the end of this year.

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