A proposal to export liquefied natural gas from a terminal at the mouth of the Columbia River has hit a major setback this week. Oregon courts have affirmed that it was legal for Clatsop County in 2011 to reverse its position on a pipeline connected to the project.
A 121-mile pipeline would have connected the Oregon LNG terminal in Warrenton to an existing pipeline terminus in Molalla, passing through through 41 miles of agricultural land, forest and estuary in Clatsop County.
The county commission conditionally approved the pipeline’s application in 2010, but a new group of commissioners took office in 2011 and withdrew that approval. The new commission drafted findings that the pipeline did not comply with its coastal land management plan.
But before the commissioners could make a final decision, Oregon LNG appealed, saying the county was not allowed to flip-flop.
Now the state Supreme Court has refused to hear the company’s appeal.
Commissioner Scott Lee says he expects the county to formally reject the pipeline’s application soon, and he expects Oregon LNG to appeal that decision.
“You know one of the largest corporations in the world is going up against a small, rural county in Oregon," Lee says. "We expect them to continue their pattern of behavior as it were.”
Oregon LNG did not immediately return a call for comment. Developers have proposed a second natural gas export project, Jordan Cove, in Coos Bay, Ore.
Copyright 2013 Oregon Public Broadcasting