For Immediate Release.
Salem, OR – Citing a failure by the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) to evaluate the impact of renewing its lease of state-owned land for the Oregon LNG project, two citizen groups, BARK and Sierra Club, are requesting that state officials reconsider the decision. Last month, Oregon DSL granted a 30-year lease extension to the Port of Astoria for the Oregon LNG project.
The lease decision was made with no public comment or public notice.
Brian Pasko, Director of Oregon Sierra Club, explained why the groups think that DSL should take a harder look at the lease for the Oregon LNG terminal.
“DSL’s decision to renew a lease for an LNG terminal on public land is a major policy decision that affects Oregonian’s safety, property rights, farms, forests, and salmon. By shutting out the public, DSL short-circuited the process and failed to listen to thousands of Oregonians who see the Oregon LNG terminal and its proposed 121-mile pipeline as a major threat to Oregon’s farms, forests, and a cleaner energy future.”
Critics of the lease contend that DSL did not determine that the lease was in the public interest. As an example, the filing points out that the lease agreement is drastically undervalued in comparison to other similar leases for marine industrial projects.
Jim Scheller, a resident near the proposed Oregon LNG terminal who joined the request for reconsideration, stated, “DSL is directly subsidizing the Oregon LNG project by essentially giving away over 90 acres of valuable state land that include 70 acres of prime wetland sites for restoration. The lease amount is based on a golf course appraisal – not an LNG terminal. This is obvious mismanagement of public resources, and the lease that the DSL granted is not in the public interest.”
The groups’ filing provides many additional reasons why DSL should reconsider whether the lease is the best use of state-owned land, including the sweeping impact of the proposed Oregon LNG project on public safety and natural resources.
Amy Harwood, Program Director of Mt. Hood protection group BARK, called on the State Land Board to get involved, “Oregonians expect our agencies to uphold Oregon’s long-held values of protecting our forests and maintaining government transparency. The Oregon LNG project connects to the proposed Palomar pipeline, and the combined projects would cut a swath through private lands and the Mt. Hood Forest, alike.”
Added Harwood, “DSL needs to hear from Oregonians who are directly impacted by this project, and we are calling on the State Land Board to get involved and determine whether they think that DSL made a reasoned decision.”