The U.S. Coast Guard in Portland, OR, last week began seeking comments on the suitability of liquefied natural Gas (LNG) tankers traversing the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest.

The Coast Guard said it will assess safety and security issues associated with LNG tanker traffic on the Columbia River in order to make a recommendation to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on a proposal by Northern Star Natural Gas LLC to build a 1 Bcf/d LNG terminal in Bradwood, OR.

“We plan to work very closely with local officials, our Ports and Waterways Safety Committee and the Area Maritime Security Committee in evaluating this proposal,” said Patrick G. Gerrity, Coast Guard Captain of the Port at Portland. “We will also be looking for comments from the general public to ensure we have considered the full range of issues.”

Northern Star Natural Gas, which has offices in Houston, will provide the Coast Guard with a safety and security assessment that identifies any navigational safety hazards, along with recommendations on mitigation measures and the resources (federal, state, local and private sector) that will be needed to provide an acceptable level of security for the proposed LNG operations, the Coast Guard said.

Based on the company’s assessment, the Coast Guard Captain of the Port will evaluate the suitability of the waterway for LNG marine traffic and provide his or her findings to FERC to be included in its environmental impact statement on the project.

FERC earlier this year began a review of the Pacific Northwest LNG terminal and associated pipeline project under the agency’s pre-filing process of the National Environmental Policy Act (see Daily GPI, March 8). The project, according to the company, is targeted for completion in October 2006.

The Coast Guard and FERC will hold public meetings at Knappa High School in Astoria, OR, on Sept. 29. Written comments should be submitted to the Coast Guard by Oct. 6.

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