Natural Gas Pipeline Project Struck Down in Court

2 Apr

from birdsbeforethestorm

By Sasha

Ah, the epic story of infrastructure resistance!

The Palomar Liquid National Gas (LNG) Pipeline wants to reconfigure zoning laws to build their pipeline, so the Clatsup County Board of Commissioners put to a referendum whether or not to alter the zoning laws.

Understood as a referendum on LNG, the resulting popular vote turned down the terminal 3-to-1. The county commission subsequently appealed the referendum, holding their own vote to supersede the peoples’ vote that they themselves had called for, presumably because they did not like the outcome.

Through a massive grassroots effort, each pro-LNG commissioner was recalled and replaced by an anti-LNG commissioner, leading to a final decision against the pipeline. The final decision was appealed all the way to the Oregon Supreme Court, which last Thursday refused to see the case.

The pipeline was also kicked out of Mt. Hood last year by the biodiversity group, Bark. Hopefully they will just give up. We won’t stop until they do. To read more, click below:

Cross Posted from Law360

The Oregon Supreme Court on Thursday declined to review a county’s decision to rescind approval for a 41-mile natural gas pipeline, leaving in place an appellate ruling that recognized local control of a project critics say would badly damage natural resources.

The high court’s move upholds an October decision from the Oregon Court of Appeals that affirmed the right of Clatsop County to issue a final verdict on the controversial project, which would connect with a proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal and, according to opponents, slice through precious farmland, forests and salmon habitat.

County officials originally endorsed the plan in 2010 but reversed course the next year when new board members took office. Before they ever issued a final decision, Oregon Pipeline Co. LLC launched an unsuccessful bid to have courts declare the withdrawal of approval invalid.

Scott Somers, manager of the coastal county in northwestern Oregon, said in a statement that with the two-year legal battle resolved, final action by Clatsop commissioners could take place within one month.

Columbia Riverkeeper, an environmental group that intervened in the suit, said Thursday that the project, jointly pursued by Oregon Pipeline with an affiliated company called Oregon LNG, might have been dealt a death blow.

“This is a resounding victory for the citizens of Clatsop County,” Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper, said in a statement. “Oregon LNG attempted to subvert the democratic process by challenging the right of Clatsop County to review a dangerous pipeline proposal. Today’s decision casts serious doubt on the viability of Oregon LNG.”

In addition to environmental concerns, critics suggested the natural gas exports would contribute to higher energy costs for American consumers by reducing domestic supply. Pipeline officials, however, said their exports would consist mainly of Canadian gas, softening any negative economic impacts.

Company officials also said they would go to great lengths to avoid environmental harm, promising to using existing transmission line corridors and to avoid routes near homes whenever possible.

Oregon LNG is also behind the terminal construction effort, whose local land-use permits would come from the city of Warrenton, not the county, VandenHeuvel told Law360. The company hasn’t yet filed an application with the city, he said.

Even if both projects ultimately secure local blessing, they also need backing from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which Oregon LNG says isn’t expected to act before year’s end. If all permits were in place by then, construction could begin next year and wrap up in 2017, according to the company.

Counsel for Oregon LNG could not immediately be reached for comment.

Oregon Pipeline is represented by E. Michael Connors of Hathaway Koback Connors LLP.

Clatsop County is represented by Harlan E. Jones of Jordan Ramis PC.

The case is State ex rel. Oregon Pipeline Co. LLC v. Clatsop County, case number S060904, in the Supreme Court of the State of Oregon.

Editing by Katherine Rautenberg


One Response to “Natural Gas Pipeline Project Struck Down in Court”

  1. desertrose April 2, 2013 at 6:27 am #

    Reblogged this on Family Survival Protocol.

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