The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Thursday upheld its Sept. 18, 2008, approval of the proposed Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal near Astoria, Ore., project developer NorthernStar Natural Gas, Inc. reported. As the only FERC-approved U.S. West Coast LNG terminal, Bradwood Landing could begin construction in 2009 and be operational by 2012.
The Commission denied requests by interveners to rehear the Bradwood project, stating that its decision
"does not impact any substantive determinations that need to be made by states" under federal statutes.
As FERC stated in a media alert issued Thursday: "Since construction cannot start until all necessary
authorizations are obtained, there can be no environmental impacts until there is full compliance with all
relevant federal laws."
Construction on the proposed terminal and pipeline cannot begin until all project conditions have been
satisfied, including state permits for clean air, clean water and coastal zone management. In additional,
the National Marine Fisheries Service must complete their consultation process and issue a Biological
Opinion as required under the Endangered Species Act.
"While we would have preferred that FERC's final action came after state and federal agencies had
completed their review process, today's decision by FERC upholding the September 18th Certificate
Order was based on 42 months of review and 50,000 pages of testimony on the record," said Paul F. Soanes, director and president of NorthernStar.
"FERC approval is just one of many approvals required in order for this project to proceed. This decision
does not in any way change Bradwood's commitment to comply with Oregon and Washington's
requirements, and we continue to work with state and federal agencies to assist them in completing their
review of our project."
The need for additional natural gas supplies in the Pacific Northwest has been clearly demonstrated in
recent proceedings before the public utility commissions in both Oregon and Washington. The testimony
and evidence submitted by regulated gas distribution companies on behalf of residential, commercial and
industrial customers shows that the Utility market annual demand for natural gas over a 20-year forecast
period is expected to cumulatively increase approximately 40 - 50% in Oregon and Washington. This
increase in gas demand comes at a time that the Northwest is facing projected declines from traditional
Canadian supplies and new competition for Rockies gas from eastern U.S. states.
"The cost to deliver LNG to the Pacific Northwest is well below the price it sells for in the local market,"
said Soanes. "Because of that, LNG can serve as affordable source of reliable clean-burning energy
for the Northwest to help stabilize energy costs for consumers and businesses."
Bradwood Landing's coalition of supporters includes the Oregon AFL-CIO, the Columbia Pacific Building
Trades, the Steamship Operators Association, and more than 2,500 citizens who have sent supportive
letters or cards to FERC, Clatsop County and the Governor.
The Bradwood terminal and its associated 36.3 mile pipeline would provide a new source of natural gas directly into the Oregon and Washington natural gas market. It would contribute more than $7.8 million annually in taxes to Clatsop County. A regional analysis of the effects of increased natural gas supply from a Columbia River LNG terminal by University of Oregon economist Phil Romero, showed that Bradwood could reduce the wholesale cost of natural gas by 13 percent. Romero's analysis showed this decrease in energy costs would help support the creation of between 5,100 and 20,300 jobs.