State of Oregon Rejects Demands of NorthernStar LNG

For Immediate Release:

Oregon Rejects Demands of NorthernStar LNG, 15 Other States File Amicus Brief Supporting Oregon’s Lawsuit Against NorthernStar

Portland, OR – NorthernStar’s proposed Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal suffered two serious setbacks that may endanger the project.

First, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released a letter today rejecting NorthernStar’s demand that DEQ issue permits in 2010.

“We are very pleased that the DEQ has clearly signaled its commitment to good science and sound process.  The construction of an LNG terminal on the Columbia River would significantly impact our state’s land, air, water, and public safety,” stated Brian Pasko, Director of the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club, “DEQ’s letter gives us a lot of faith that agency staff are giving this issue the time and attention it deserves.”

The LNG terminal has suffered multi-year setbacks as state and federal agencies have asked for complete and accurate data on the project’s harm to salmon and impact to the Columbia River Estuary.  NorthernStar, who recently stated they planned to start construction in 2010, demanded that DEQ issue permits within months.  DEQ rejected these unusual demands.

DEQ’s February 17, 2010, letter states, “[NorthernStar’s] three principal demands are that DEQ: (1) drop its request for three-dimensional modeling,” (2) approve the project “without the benefit” of a consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service, and (3) “agree to issue its certification by July 2010.”  DEQ rejected each demand and said that NorthernStar would either provide the requested data and extend the permitting timeline or DEQ’s “decision will likely lead to a denial of certification.”

Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper, responded to DEQ’s letter.  “NorthernStar’s demands indicate desperation.  DEQ rejected these demands and has indicated that it’s willing to deny the project.”

In a second significant blow to the project, the Attorney Generals of fifteen other states, including Louisiana, Mississippi, and Ohio, filed an amicus brief against Bradwood LNG in a lawsuit challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) approval of the Bradwood project.  The amicus brief supports Oregon’s position that Oregon has authority to deny the LNG terminals.

The amicus brief, filed by Joseph R. Biden III of Delaware, Martha Coakley of Massachusettes, and James “Buddy” Caldwell of  Louisiana, among others, supports the arguments of Oregon , Washington, the Nez Perce Tribe, Columbia Riverkeeper, and other organizations.

“We’re thrilled that so many other states, along with Oregon and Washington, recognize the problems with the Bradwood application,” stated Scott Jerger from Field Jerger LLP, who represents Columbia Riverkeeper and other organizations.

An amicus or “friends of the court” brief may be submitted by non-parties who believe the issues in the case are so important that their interests are effected.

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