Palomar Pipeline

Press Release: Watchdog Groups Call on NW Natural to Drop Fracked Gas Pipeline Through Mt Hood National Forest

NW Natural must drop plans to put a fracked gas pipeline through Mt Hood National Forest.

A large orange banner stretched across an area of large trees in a forest slated for logging to allow an LNG pipelineBark first became aware of NW Natural's renewed interest in building an LNG pipeline across the southern region of Mt. Hood National Forest in 2017 when our allies at Columbia Riverkeeper noted the route in NW Natural's annual planning documents. This route was previously proposed by NW Natural for the Palomar LNG pipeline back in 2008, which was soundly defeated by a coalition of land owners, environmental groups, fossil fuel resisters, and broad public opposition that emerged following Bark's Hike the Pipe campaign. The reenvisioned pipeline is called Trail West. NW Natural and Transcanada stakeholders are eager to see it built.

Bark and a coalition of community members and organizations won the campaign to stop the Palomar pipeline in 2011. Central to that effort, Bark staff and volunteers hiked the entire length of the 47-mile corridor, documenting the watershed conditions, plant community, wildlife use, and other ecological conditions, using the information gathered to challenge the project through the National Environmental Policy Act processes for public review of federal actions. Bark's boots-on-the-ground efforts identified many concerns about the corridor, including: 

 “Construction of the pipeline corridor would initially require more than 700 acres of clearcutting, including through several old growth forests. The pipeline route crosses 15 streams and rivers, as well as countless unnamed tributaries, drainages and wetlands. In addition, the construction and maintenance of this pipeline will require use of currently decommissioned roads, as well as construction of new roads for access to remote parts of the pipeline route.” 

Bark has been tracking all activity related to fossil fuel development across Mt. Hood since 2005 when the Bush Administration directed the Bureau of Land Management to identify priority routes for fossil fuel, hydrogen, and electricity transmission across the west. These routes are designated as the "West-Wide Energy Corridors". West-wide energy corridors are considered the preferred locations for energy transport projects on lands managed by the BLM and are intended to facilitate long-distance transport of oil, gas, or hydrogen via pipelines and transmission and distribution of high-voltage electricity via transmission and distribution lines. The prospect of a Trail West Pipeline would utilize the route designated as Corridor 230-248, the same route as the proposed Palomar Pipeline. 

In July, 2009, Bark joined several other conservation groups in a lawsuit challenging the WWEC EIS and associated energy corridor designations.  Our particular concern was proposed Corridor 230-248.










On July 11th, 2012, the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Department of Energy and the Department of Justice reached a Settlement Agreement on the challenge to the WWEC EIS. In the settlement, Corridor 230-248 was designated a “Corridor of Concern” as it would impact critical habitat, National Register of Historic Places, Pacific Crest Trail, Clackamas Wild and Scenic River and other “eligible” segments under Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and conflicting with Northwest Forest Plan Late Successional Reserves.

Industry push for a new Trail West pipeline along this same route is eminent because of unceasing drive for expansion of fossil fuel pipeline networks across the PNW and Canada.

Proposed development of the methanol refinery industry in Kalama, WA, a partnership of the innocuously named, NW Innovation Works, could be restocked with LNG via Trail West connection from the existing GTN pipeline in crossing eastern Oregon from to Malin. Jordan Cove development could be supported by greater connectivity as well.

NW Natural and Gas Transmission Northwest have, in fact, been in discussion about this route since 2017 as an alternative to the I-5 pipeline to supply gas to the proposed Kalama refinery or to free up capacity in other pipelines to supply it. Indeed, the Gas Association estimated that the Trail West Pipeline may begin operating in 4th Quarter of 2021.

In July 2015, the Northwest Gas Association stated, “a large enough project (roughly over 150,000 Dth/d of demand) would likely need new infrastructure regardless of their preferred gas transportation type simply due to high utilization of the existing pipeline systems.”4 The Gas Association affirmed its perspective again in its 2016 Gas Outlook, stating that new methanol-related gas demand could push the regional pipeline system to an “inflection point,” prompting new gas pipeline development.





Project Status: 
Energy Projects
General Information
Clackamas River Ranger District

Clackamas River

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Is the Palomar Pipeline back?

Join Columbia Riverkeeper and Bark for a presentation to learn how the Trail West Pipeline threatens Mt. Hood and why the world’s largest methanol refineries would undermine our region’s commitments to fight climate change.

The Oregonian: Pipeline across the Cascades could be in for more trouble with settlement

A settlement between environmental groups and federal agencies covering the development of energy corridors in the West could mean more trouble for Northwest Natural Gas Co.'s on-again-off-again quest to build a pipeline across the Cascades through Mt. Hood National Forest.

Pipeline cancelled, Clackamas and White River basins protected!


On March 23rd, 2011, the Palomar Pipeline Company withdrew its permit application at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This marks a major victory for Bark and removes the most significant forest-wide threat facing Mt. Hood. Company officials claim they are re-tooling their project and may submit a new application as early as 2012. As Bark stated in the Oregonian article covering this incredible news, when and if they come back with a proposal to illegally go through the Mt. Hood National Forest and weaken protections for Wild and Scenic Rivers, Bark will be there to stop them again. As of August 2012, the Forest Service has removed the Palomar Pipeline from their list of proposed actions and all NEPA processing has been suspended.

Meanwhile, in July 2012, Bark and a group of allies challenging the West Wide Energy Corridors identified by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) came to a settlement agreement that includes the proposed Palomar Pipeline route as a 'Corridor of Concern' for future development of energy transmission through the western eleven states. We consider this to be the final nail in the Palomar coffin. Although the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) battles have been mostly fought out on the coast of Oregon we saw the issue come to roost in Mt. Hood National Forest in 2007 when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) initiated the NEPA process to allow Palomar Gas Transmission (PGT), a company who transports natural gas, to place a pipeline from the Columbia River where the LNG Terminals are proposed down through Molalla and across the national forest to meet up in Madras with existing pipeline. This proposal would include a clearcut corridor for the pipeline as well as new road construction for access to the pipeline. The corridor would cross Fish Creek and the Wild and Scenic Clackamas River. These are key watersheds that include already compromised older forests. The corridor would amount to an approx. 720-acre clearcut.

Project Status: 
Energy Projects
General Information
Clackamas River Ranger District
Total Acres: 

Fish Creek, Lower Clackamas, Upper Clackamas

Driving Directions: 

A very accessible location on the proposed Palomar Pipeline Route is on the Riverside Trail which intersect the pipeline route where Palomar would cross the Clackamas River in the midst of a beautiful old growth forest. Call the Bark office for good directions to different points along the proposed route.

Urgent action needed to protect 2,000 acres of Mt. Hood!

Oregon LNG terminal plans reverse from importing to exporting gas

Two years ago, energy companies trying to build terminals to import liquefied natural gas to Oregon laughed at the notion of using their projects instead to export burgeoning supplies of U.S. and Canadian gas to lucrative markets in Asia.

Oregonian: NW Natural's calm shareholders meeting doesn't reflect shareholder happiness

"We don't see the changed route as any benefit to Mt. Hood," said Olivia Schmidt, an organizer with Bark, an environmental advocacy group on Mt. Hood issues. "We stopped them once, and we'll do it again."

Day of Action to protect Mt. Hood a success!

NW Natural recieves more than 700 emails from opponents of the Palomar Pipeline.