Oregon LNG Hearing on Friday the 13th

THE OREGON LNG legal saga will enter a new phase in May. In late April, the company withdrew their argument that all of Clatsop County’s judges are biased. As a result, Clatsop County Circuit Court Judge Phillip L. Nelson will hold a hearing on May 13 to evaluate the arguments being put forward by Clatsop County, Columbia Riverkeeper and the Northwest Property Rights Coalition in defense of Clatsop County’s right to make a final land use decision about Oregon LNG and its pipeline.

The County is asking the court to dismiss Oregon LNG’s claims that the county no longer has jurisdiction over the land use decision on the Oregon LNG pipeline due to the clock running out after the previous county commission’s decision last October.

The hearing will begin promptly at 9 am in courtroom 200 at the Clatsop County Courthouse in Astoria.

The Clatsop County Commission made a preliminary decision in March to deny the Oregon LNG pipeline project. Leucadia National Corporation, which is the NY-based financial backer for Oregon LNG, is indicating that community opposition is prompting Leucadia to reconsider its investment in Oregon LNG.

In other LNG news, local residents celebrated the 1-year anniversary of Bradwood Landing’s decision to pull the plug on their LNG terminal and pipeline project on May 4. Over 4 years of protests and legal action, and countless thousands of hours of volunteer time were required to cause the project to run out of money in attempting to procure local, state and federal permits. The project was scrubbed despite the backing of the previous Clatsop County Commission, and moves by the company to integrate into the local community.

Oregon House Bill 2700 (HB2700), which would allow a person that proposes removal or fill activity for construction or maintenance of a “linear facility” (read pipeline) to apply for a removal or fill permit, instead of the owner of the property, continued to move through the legislature in April and early May. The bill, called the “LNG fast-track authority bill” by anti-LNG activists, is currently being considered by the Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee. The bill passed the House 40-18 in March. Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie) voted for the bill, while Debbie Boone (D-Cannon Beach) voted against it. This is the 3rd attempt to pass this legislation in recent years.

By Bob Goldberg

Bob moved to Astoria from Seattle in 2005, on the day Katrina hit New Orleans. He started writing for HIPFiSH in 2007. With a previous career as an environmental engineer with the Washington State Department of Ecology and a researcher at various companies and national labs, Bob tries to bring his scientific (i.e. objective) background to journalism. Outside the HIPFiSH world, Bob does programming on KMUN radio, sings tenor in the North Coast Chorale, tutors at Clatsop Community College, and helps with websites. He lives in Astoria with his beautiful and wonderful wife, his son and two cats.