Posts Tagged ‘LNG’


Speak Up to FERC about LNG and Pipeline Concerns in Oregon

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is holding a series of public hearings to listen to public comment on the proposed Coos Bay Liquefied Natural Gas export facility and the associated 230-mile pipeline.  At No LNG Signissue are the environmental impacts of this project including climate effects, water pollution from fracking and damage to forest habitats as well as the economic impacts taking of land through eminent domain, foreign company exploitation of public resources and the deleterious effects of providing inexpensive fossil-fuels to competing economies.  There is much to discuss with FERC. 

Organizing and Informational Meeting 

Douglas County citizens are getting together to share information on this project. Find out what you need to know about fossil fuel exports through Oregon by foreign energy companies. The event is free and open to the public. This meeting is organized by Pipeline Awareness Southern Oregon, South Umpqua Rural Community Partnership, Douglas County Global Warming Coalition, Umpqua Watersheds, Landowners United, and Cascadia Wildlands. 

Where: Ford Room, Roseburg Public Library, Roseburg, Oregon
When: December 1 at 6:30PM (Call 541-860-8307 for details)

LNG Public Meetings Alert

Where: Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, Oregon
When: December 9, 6:00 to 9:00 PM

Where: Seven-Feathers Convention Center, Canyonville
When: December 10, 6:00 to 9:00 PM

To submit DEIS comments, please click here.


Coos Bay LNG Facility: An undemocratic process for a “bridge fuel” that leads us closer to environmental and economic doom

By Bob Ferris
The most recent elections sting all of us who care about the environment and the future of the planet like rock Inhofesalt gingerly applied to an open wound.  Part of that sting is the peril we face when anti-scientific types like James Inhofe (at right) and Ted Cruz are considered for important and knowledge-based leadership roles in the Senate.  And part of it comes from the dual democratic insult of voter suppression and the fact that 88 percent of these votes did not come from the folks who will be most impacted longest by the decisions in these two committees far into the future—the youth of America—who did not fully participate in this decision.  I am very bullish on science-driven decision making and also the democratic process so these developments above bother me significantly.
These two factors are also at play in the Coos Bay LNG process as well.  For instance on the science end, it has been argued that liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a so-called “bridge fuel” that helps us get from a fuel that is worse to a better, cleaner fuel on our pathway off fossil-fuels all together.  This is a nice concept but it seems in this instance that it is a little like a bartender switching an intoxicated patron from bourbon to beer only to find that the imbiber is using that beer to make boilermakers.  A bridge fuel is only a bridge fuel if there is a concrete plan for this fuel to displace other, more damaging fuels.  There is no such plan, ergo LNG is not a bridge fuel for this and other reasons.  And while LNG produces less in the way of acid rain components than coal it is still a carbon-based fossil fuel that contributes to climate change and ocean acidification.  
In terms of the democratic insults of this project there are many starting with the potential condemnation of private lands for the pipelines and reduction of pipeline safety measures in rural areas where the potential loss of “significant life” is lower.  But the one that is currently sticking in my craw is the process that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is using to collect comments.  It is purposely and artificially complicated.  Therefore, it is exclusionary favoring those who would help turn this country into a resource colony (read: Third World Country) for China and other competing/job displacing economies and creating a barrier to country-folk most impacted or put at risk by this project.   
Jordan CoveIf you are like me and have a little left-over election angst that keeps you edgy during the day and awake at night, my suggestion is that you follow this link below and fight your way through this complicated and ridiculous process to send FERC and others who would ignore science and an open democratic process a clear message: We believe that 1) climate change is real and needs to be addressed rather than ignored; 2) the rights of rural people should be considered; 3) the profits of the few—especially foreign interests—should not be more important than the impacts to those US citizens that will be affected by fracking, suffer from climate change, or lose their jobs through giving further competitive advantage to rapacious economies overseas.  
And when you are done please recycle.  Share this action with others and give them the opportunity to start the process of personal healing by taking positive and informed action.  Thank you for your help!


A Trip to Washington DC

By Francis Eatherington

francis in DC

During the week of June 16, representatives of Cascadia Wildlands, Oregon Wild, and KS Wild traveled to Washington DC to discuss two bills, one from Senator Wyden and one from Representative DeFazio. Both mandate an increase of logging on western Oregon BLM lands.
We had over 21 meetings with agency staff, senators and representatives. We pointed out that if laws like the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are weakened in Oregon (as both the Wyden and DeFazio bills propose) it sets a precedent nation-wide.
Both bills claim western Oregon BLM districts are in litigation “gridlock” because of environmental troublemakers. It’s not true. There is no gridlock. In December 2013 the BLM released information going back 6 years showing the BLM has been meeting its timber targets when averaged over all western Oregon districts. For instance, in 2012, the timber target for the 6 BLM districts with O&C land was 203 mmbf (million board feet). The exceeded that by offering 205.4 mmbf of mostly non-controversial, non-litigated timber sales. It is hyperbole to call this “gridlock.” Instead, the problem is that the BLM Districts with dryer forests (Medford and Roseburg) haven’t been able to meet their targets, which were set too high. But that is made up by the BLM districts with wetter forests (Coos Bay, Salem and Eugene) that have exceeded their target volume.
The Oregon congressional delegation is being pressured by counties who have such low tax revenue (and low tax rates) that they want to return to the days when they reaped in a huge share of BLM logging revenue.
We pointed out that reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools legislation would solve that problem on the federal level, while we recognized that state and county governments need to address the funding crises at local levels. For instance, the large percentage of private land in Oregon owned by the timber industry has a far lower tax rate than rural families pay. And if a timber corporation owns more than 5,000 acres, they pay even less taxes. Added to those tax gifts is the fact that industry has no fees on the large amount of raw-log exports from Oregon, unlike the payments required from industry in California and Washington State on raw-log exports.
On our last day in DC we discussed with legislators our concerns over exporting Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). Veresen, a Canadian corporation, wants to use southern Oregon to export fracked gas to Asia. Veresen claims that if they can’t export, they will have to stop fracking. They want to take property from over 300 Oregonians for a pipeline to Coos Bay to feed a proposed LNG terminal in a tsunami and earthquake subduction zone.
While the staff of Senator Wyden seemed concerned when they met with us, they could offer no explanation to Senator Wyden’s statements that he “applauds” this project. They will get back to us on if he meant he applauds condemning his constituents lands, or he just applauds the release of huge amounts of methane in fracking, as methane is 100 times more polluting than coal when released unburned into the atmosphere. I’ll be sure to let you when they get back to us.

The Pteropod in the Coal Mind

By Bob Ferris
The below video link from a Seattle Times article is important.pteropod-limacina-helicina_med
Now you might not have heard of pteropods before, but you have certainly heard of the relationship between canaries and coal miners. Pteropods are the canaries of our Cascadian oceans.  They are sensitive to acid because of their thin shells and they are telling us that we need to end or seriously curtail smokestack and tail pipe emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen (NOx) and sulfur (SOx) because this is affecting the bottom of a food chain that ultimately includes us.  
If you or someone you know has trouble grasping the concept of climate change or our peril from accelerating carbon and other emissions from this push to make the Pacific Northwest the carbon (i.e., coal, tar sand, oil shale, LNG and wood) export capital of North America, please introduce them to the graceful and transparent pteropods who are dissolving and dying to send us a message.



Interior Department: The Need for a Gumption Pill

By Bob Ferris
gump•tion  [guhmp-shuhn]  noun Informal.
1. initiative; aggressiveness; resourcefulness: With his gumption he'll make a success of himself.
2. courage; spunk; guts: It takes gumption to quit a high-paying job.
3. common sense; shrewdness. 
There are times when I fantasize about products that I would like to see.  One of those products that is high on my list right now would be gumption pills.  For if this product existed I would send cases of !cid_0BAFA484-1336-41EC-865D-6D83DF8F3EE6these pills directly to 1849 C Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20240.
"The U.S. Department of the Interior protects America’s natural resources and heritage, honors our cultures and tribal communities, and supplies the energy to power our future." From US Department of Interior website.
What is there?  This is the address of the US Department of Interior whose mission is stated above.  And they could surely use this attribute of gumption at this point.  
Why would I say this?  Well let’s start with the fact that the Department in the form of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) just let an abusive and cantankerous cowboy parley his family’s $10 investment in 1948 in 160 acres of desert land with some water rights into a standoff of monumental proportion and consequence.  
Had this agency been taking gumption pills, they would have solved this situation two decades ago rather than letting it linger and fester.  As it was they had to be dragged kicking and screaming towards resolution by lawsuits and then they dropped the situation like a super-heated spud ending with a greater mess than when they started.   In the absence of gumption the squeaky wheeled bullies prevailed, the cattle are still there, and the American public lost on so many levels.  
020213Minam_odfw-1But this is not the only symptom that might be treated by the gumption pills.  We also have the recent proposal to delist the gray wolves in most of the lower 48 states.  Here again the Interior Department agency involved—the US Fish and Wildlife Service—listened to noisy bullies in the form of state wildlife agencies and anti-wolf trophy hunters and came up with a “plan” that was universally criticized by the scientific peer-review team and by conservationists around the globe.  
Then there is Powder River Basin coal.  I get the “supplies energy to power our future” part of Interior’s mission but how in any rational system of thought is selling coal to foreign companies and global corporations at prices that make it profitable for them to ship it 7000 miles to China an element of powering our future?  The same goes for fracking and LNG export, particularly when it should be balanced with the “protect America’s natural resources” aspect of their mission.  
And what is true for cattle grazing, wolves, coal and natural gas is also true for trees and forests.  The BLM has control of more than two and half million acres of federal forest lands in western Oregon.  Here the chainsaws of the forest industry seem to be heard better by BLM than those in Oregon or coming to Oregon to work in industries that are actually growing rather than shrinking in terms of economic contributions.  Here again BLM is faced with the choice of listening to the noisy few or the quiet many who come and stay in Oregon because of the natural amenities not because of clearcuts, landslides, or their love of jake-braking logging trucks.  
Unfortunately I could go on and on here, but the catalyst for this rambling rant is that suction dredge miners in Idaho are notifying the BLM that they are planning a protest to be staged on BLM lands and mendoAu ripping up bankperpetrated in the waters of the iconic Salmon River.  The suction dredgers plan, as I understand it, is to assemble themselves and their suction dredges on the banks of the Salmon and then run those machines in the river in protest of their recent legislative failure to get the US EPA banned from Idaho.  The legislation failed because it was judged unconstitutional so the suction dredgers—who frequently and passionately invoke the US Constitution as well as the 1872 Mining Law—are basically protesting the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution which is exactly what they invoke when they say that that state or local efforts to exclude suction are trumped by the 1872 Mining Law, which incidentally, does not mention suction dredging anywhere in that 1872 act.  
Robin Boyce, acting manager for the Cottonwood Field Office, said the BLM is working on a response to the event planned on the Salmon River in central Idaho near Riggins around the Fourth of July, the Lewiston Tribune ( reported Tuesday.
"We are still trying to figure out how this would work and when and if it is possible on BLM property," Boyce said.  From the Idaho Statesman April 22, 2014
In any case, the BLM response to this above was gumption-less.  It was a “we have to talk to our parents” sort of response.  Had they had their gumption pills the response could have been something along these lines: We will not grant you permission to use the federal lands under our care to break federal pollution laws.  Or simply: Hell no.  The latter would be so refreshing.
Cascadia Wildlands and other similar organizations regularly sue the Interior Department agencies.  We do so not because we like to but when the Department—in its many guises—lacks the gumption to enforce their own laws or regulations.  We do so not in a casual and reflexive manner but after long discussions and many notices to the agencies involved.  And when in the end they fail to act as the laws and regulation proscribe, we in essence become the “gumption pills” they need.  
I would love for the US Department of Interior to suddenly develop gumption and bring constructive resolve to all of the above issues from the Bundy fiasco to the weak wolf plan and from energy to the suction dredger lawlessness.  I am ready and willing to be surprised by agencies following the law and maybe even doing a little bit more.  But I am also prepared—along with my colleagues and partners who represent the un-listened to public and the speechless critters and ecosystems—to be the gumption that this is lacking in this important federal department.

Forests, Fracking and LNG: Francis Defending People and Places


Francis Eatherington, Cascadia Wildands' Conservation Director was recently interviewed on a broad range topics relating to Oregon's precious coastal forests and the problems with allowing liquefied natural gas exports through Coos Bay. Please listen to what she has to say in this engaging and thoughtful interview.    Click here to listen to the radio interview.

Douglas County Planning Commission says no to [LNG] pipeline

By Carisa Cegavske, Roseburg News ReviewJordan Cove
January 11, 2014
The Douglas County Planning Commission Thursday threw a monkey wrench in a developer’s plan to export liquefied natural gas through a pipeline that would cross Douglas County. 
Developers now seek to export rather than import gas through a Coos Bay terminal, but their request was effectively rebuffed after the commissioners twice tied 3-3 on the issue. 
A seventh commissioner, Mark Brosi, attempted to vote to allow the pipeline but was told by county staff that he was disqualified because he did not attend hearings on the subject and had not reviewed the record.
County Planning Director Keith Cubic said the developer will likely appeal to the Douglas County commissioners and, if they lose at that level, could challenge the decision to the state Land Use Board of Appeals.
The Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline would move natural gas from the Plains and Canada to Coos Bay. The planning commission in 2009 issued a permit for the pipeline to cross 7 miles within the county’s Coastal Zone Management Area, but restricted the company to import natural gas only.
Market conditions have caused the developers to propose exporting natural gas, forcing the companies to seek new permits from federal regulators and counties affected by the project.
Planning Commissioner William Duckett voted against granting the permit to pipeline company Williams and energy developer Veresen U.S. Power.
He said they had used a “bait-and-switch” approach to gaining county approval for the project in 2009.
“When the applicant came in, sitting right here in front of us, we asked specifically, ‘Is this going to be for export?’ and he said, ‘Absolutely not, this not going to be for export. This is going to be for import only,’” Duckett said. “I think in my own viewpoint, it’s come in kind of like a Trojan horse.”
Commissioner Javier Goirigolzarri said he does not think the pipeline’s impact would be any different if it exports or imports gas.
“I’ll be darned if I can tell if the gas is going up, down, on or off at any point in time when I walk over the gas lines that are already in existence,” Goirigolzarri said.
Commissioner Romey Ware said it would be good to export natural gas.
“Countries that do well have a low trade deficit,” he said. “We’ve got commodities here that need to be exploited for the betterment of our country.”
Commissioner Victoria Hawks, who moved to reject the export request, said she felt other factors should be considered than those on which they were expected to make their decision.
She said the public here or in other Western states would not benefit from the gas if it is exported.
“That is not our public need. It may be somebody else’s, but I don’t think we have anything to do with that,” Hawks said.
Duckett, Hawks and Darrel Murphy voted twice to reject the export request. Ware, Goirigolzarri and George Seonbuchner voted twice to allow it.
“I think that’s what we call a hung jury,” Goirigolzarri said.
On Cubic’s advice, commissioners took a third, unanimous vote acknowledging that they could not come to an agreement and that failure meant the export request was not approved.
After the meeting, landowners with property in the pipeline’s pathway said they were pleased with the planning commission’s decision.
“I think that the commission did a good job. They did what they’re supposed to do in sorting out what is appropriate,” said landowner Richard Chasm.
He said the county commissioners will be taking up “a hot potato” once the decision is appealed to them.
Developers’ representatives who attended the meeting declined to comment and deferred questions to spokesman George Angerbauer.
“Pacific Connector is disappointed in the treatment of our land use application and we will appeal the commission’s decision. We understand there are questions about the pipeline project and the direction natural gas would flow through the pipeline, but these questions have no bearing on the project’s consistency with county land use plan and code requirements. We look forward to clarifying that point on appeal,” Angerbauer said.

Link to article


Oregon LNG: State delays decision, frustrating everyone involved

By Ted Sickinger, The Oregonian
January 09, 2014
Oregon officials have put off deciding whether a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal near the mouth of the Columbia River in Warrenton is consistent with its coastal management plan.
The Department of Land Conservation and Development says it doesn't have what it needs to make the call. That rankles both backers of the project and its opponents. They don't think it's true, for one. And they say the ongoing delays lock everyone in a regulatory holding pattern, including the applicant, taxpayers bankrolling the agencies, and community members and landowners waiting for a decision.
Various LNG proposals in Oregon have been in a similar spot for more than a decade. Backers of one project on the Columbia River gave up after spending $100 million, complaining they were caught in a never-ending regulatory loop. The two proposals still standing are Oregon LNG in Warrenton and Jordan Cove in Coos Bay.
Either way regulators go, their decision is likely to end up in court, so they need to be vetted thoroughly.  Here's a brief update on the Warrenton proposal and its recent back and forth with the state:
Remind me what this thing is:
It's a feeder pipeline, storage tanks, and a massive gas liquefaction terminal on the Skipanon Peninsula, located across Young's Bay from Astoria. The pipe would carry Canadian natural gas to the terminal, where it would be super-cooled into a liquid for shipment on tankers to lucrative markets in Asia. Oregon LNG says it will spend $6.3 billion on the project and generate thousands of construction and permanent jobs.
Why did the state delay its decision?
The Department of Land Conservation and Development, or DLCD, is only one player in the alphabet soup of state and federal agencies involved. Its piece is to determine if the project is consistent with land use policies and goals in the coastal management plan. The agency says Oregon LNG still lacks a passel of local and state permits, and a federal environmental review, so it couldn't process the consistency determination by its Jan 3 deadline. Patty Snow, the coastal program manager, says the review is "on hold" until it receives those materials.
Why did DLCD even start the clock on its six months review period if it didn't have what it needs?
Oregon LNG forced the issue by insisting its application was complete. The company was anxious for the clock to start so it could freeze which land-use rules its application would be evaluated under before updates to Clatsop County rules were approved. DLCD agreed, but Clatsop County officials think it makes no difference which rules are used to evaluate the project.
The delay was for three months? Will it be ready then?
Not if DLCD sticks with its insistence on other permits. There's virtually no way Oregon LNG will have all those permits processed in the next three months.   
Does DLCD need all the permits to make its own decision?
Snow, the coastal program manager, says it does, but it's technical evaluation isn't dependent on the other permits. Clatsop County already denied the project after deciding the 41 miles of pipeline in the county violated rules on uses of forestland and estuaries.
Oregon LNG's chief executive Peter Hansen insists the application is complete – all 10,000 pages of it. "We're on a first name basis with every bug and bunny out there," he said.
If the county says the project doesn't work, won't the state decide the same?
Some think that's inevitable. DLCD makes an independent decision, but looks at the same rules as Clatsop County, uses the county decision as evidence, and doesn't typically substitute its own judgment for any county.
Oregon LNG disagrees. It says the county decision is far from the only element in the state consistency review and that the county has no authority over siting pipelines anyway. You can't relegate the entire project to a county determination on a pipeline, Hansen said, when the county has no authority over siting pipelines. That's for federal regulators to decide.
Is there any other reason to delay?  
DLCD may be forced to make a decision, and may need time to make it legally bulletproof. In general, no state agency wants to be the first to jump on an LNG decision, and Oregon is practicing networked decision making. Hansen says it's like a circular reference in a spreadsheet. "We just can't get out of it."  The company has already spent 10 years and $50 million trying to get a terminal project off the ground, and there are a lot of folks who could use the jobs it would provide, he says.
Opponents of the project are equally flummoxed. They say public resources are being wasted and landowners and others livelihoods are being left in limbo.   
"There's no reason why the state should waste taxpayers' dollars by granting extension after extension. It has what it needs to deny this application," said Lauren Goldberg, a staff attorney at the advocacy group Columbia Riverkeeper. "We need some common sense leadership from the governor's office on this." 
What happens if DLCD approves the project?
It's still a long haul. The project needs all the other state permits, including a pollution discharge permit, water quality certification, removal fill permit, water use and storage permits, etc.  Then there's the federal license, export approval and biological opinion. Hansen said the project will have most of its federal approvals in 2014, but he might be a tad optimistic.  
What happens if the state denies the consistency determination?
Oregon LNG can appeal the decision to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, likely on the grounds that the county has no jurisdiction, and the project meets both regional and national energy interests.  If it doesn't like that decision, it can go to court.
Hansen said the company wants to work with the state because that's what it pledged to do from the start. "We are absolutely consistent with the Coastal Zone Management Act," Hansen said. "We're not looking for a fight, but if that's the only way we can get there then that's the way we'll have to go."

The Angry Ocean Calls

Gleneden BeachBy Bob Ferris
Acidic and angry, the ocean—
father and mother of us all—
Storms past amputee sea stars
And oysters with half shells
Bent not on revenge but  
inevitable correction.  
But our commercial tendrils 
Continue to flail unaware
And careless
Whipping wildly cross the globe.
While the waves build
And peril accumulates.  
The bell in the boat shed
Rings and rings again
In emergency tones
But we are deafened 
Made so purposely  
By those whose ears
Hear but one note
Played by a golden whistle.
And leadership?
We certainly have those
Who claim that mantle
But bray about progress
And great voyages 
Yet have never raised anchor
From a dark and destructive past.
Those in their idle and mired boats
Are cheered by those created 
Expressly by their negligence.
Like cave fish they have
Lost their vision and
Discernment from disuse.  
But the wave still comes
Whether seen or not.
So we are left to sink 
or swim.  
Unled and ill-served
Until we realize the wisdom 
Of the bristlecone, clams and Greenland shark.
We need to manage and serve ourselves 
And think in centuries not seconds
Systems and not status
And lead our lives and loves accordingly.
Bandon, Oregon November 2013
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Please take a moment to rest up, because we certainly have some work (and fun) ahead of us on forests, wolves, and the wild places we all love and need!
Bob Ferris

Natural Gas Export Plan Unites Oregon Landowners Against It

Jeff Brady NPR
May 29, 2013

A radical shift in the world energy picture is raising environmental concerns in the United States.
Until recently, the U.S. had been expected to import more natural gas. But now, because of controversial technologies like "fracking," drillers are producing a lot more domestic natural gas; so much that prices are down, along with industry profits. And drillers are looking overseas for new customers.
Whether the United States should export some of its newly abundant supplies of natural gas is a controversial issue before the Department of Energy. About two-dozen applications have been submitted to the agency for exports to countries that don't have free-trade agreements with the U.S.
Environmentalists are concerned that exporting gas will lead to more drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." Some chemical companies have argued against approving all of the export proposals; they want plenty of cheap natural gas here in the U.S. to fuel manufacturing. And, individually, some of the export proposals have proven controversial in the communities where companies want to build them.
One such plan, the Jordan Cove Energy Project, would sit on the North Spit of lower Coos Bay in Oregon. About 2 miles from the Pacific Ocean, the proposed site isn't much more than sand, tall grass and shrubs now. But if all goes according to plan, there will be two huge storage tanks next to a 45-foot-deep berth for ships. Nearby, a new power plant would run the refrigeration necessary to turn natural gas into the much-easier-to-transport liquefied natural gas (LNG).
To read full story and listen to audio story featuring our own Francis Eatherington click the link below:
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