The dispute over the proposed siting of a liquefied natural gas facility (LNG)
site on the Columbia River got an injection of environmental celebrity on Thursday. The Southwest Washington Sustainability Conference welcomed environmental lawyer and activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
, whose Northwest trip included not only speaking at the conference, but also a visit to the proposed LNG site at Bradwood Landing
, about 30 miles inland from the coast on the banks of the Columbia River. Kennedy, who serves as chief prosecuting attorney for the environmental watchdog Riverkeeper
, supports LNG as a fuel source "bridge" to cleaner renewable energy, but claimed that this particular facility, owned by Texas-based NorthernStar,
represents a “bad energy policy that is so out of character with how other Americans are starting to see this region—as the leader in green technology.”
Kennedy explained that the plan for this facility would “damage salmon population and cause sedimentation along the river.” According to Brent Foster, Executive Director of Columbia Riverkeeper
, the NorthernStar facility would be “the worst design for salmon…with 1970s technology.” Foster, who also attended the conference, said allowing this LNG facility would create clearcutting in the mountain forests and severely damage the salmon population that is already dwindling.
“They [NorthernStar] want to use $15 billion worth of our Oregon water to help create ballast in the ships that will be transporting the LNG from as far as the Middle East,” said Foster. According to Foster, NorthernStar plans to import twice as much LNG as Oregon needs and send it directly to California. “We have the power to stop this project; the governor can say no and it could end, but he is just blaming it on the power of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
,” Foster said. “When is the State of Oregon going to step up?”
Kennedy and Foster both toured the site of the proposed plant and while Kennedy has previously stated his support for LNG as a cleaner transitional energy source, he made it clear he strongly opposes this type of facility and the location on which it would reside.
Foster, for his part, admits it would be difficult for him to imagine ever supporting new fossil fuels being brought into the country, he feels this particular plan is one of the worst.
A NorthernStar representative was unavailable for comment. We'll update this post with any response.
Response from Bradwood Landing spokesman Charles Deister below