Clatsop County voters reject proposed pipeline for LNG !!

by Ted Sickinger

In what may be the only public vote on liquefied natural gas-related projects proposed in Oregon, Clatsop County residents voted overwhelmingly today to prohibit gas pipelines and cables from running across county land zoned for parks, recreation and open space.

Nearly a mile of a proposed pipeline that would serve the Bradwood Landing LNG terminal on the Columbia River runs across such land.

Last year, the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners voted to change a law to allow the pipeline passage, which enabled it to issue a land-use compatibility statement for the Bradwood project.

Today's vote to overturn that change came in a special election referendum sponsored by environmental, land-use and citizen groups. The referendum dealt specifically with pipeline authorization, but organizers said it was effectively a vote on LNG.

The vote was 68 percent to prohibit the pipeline passage, with nearly half the county's 21,000 voters returning a ballot.

'Sixty-eight percent in a conservative largely rural county like Clatsop should send a clear message to politicians around the state that LNG is not appropriate for Oregon,' said Brent Foster, executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper.

Bradwood's backer, Houston-based NorthernStar Natural Gas Inc., originally sought to block the referendum. NorthernStar spokesman Joe Desmond said that because the county commissioners had already issued a legal opinion that they had no jurisdiction over siting gas pipelines, today's vote eliminated the company's need for a conditional use permit and simplified the process.
'We'll comply with all other conditions' -- federal, state and local -- in siting the terminal, Desmond said.
-- Ted Sickinger; tedsickinger@news.oregonian.com