Oregon LNG to Pay Army Corps of Engineers to Speed up Permitting

The United States and Canada have a surplus of natural gas and the only way to export the gas to overseas buyers is by ship in liquid form, yet North America has few facilities to liquify and load the gas onto ships. Building new plants is an extremely costly and lengthy process. 

Since 2004, a project has been under development to construct and operate a liquefied natural gas terminal in Warrenton, Oregon. When originally conceived, the idea was to use the plant only to import natural gas, but that was before fracking created a surplus of low-cost gas available. The project now includes a bidirectional LNG terminal with vaporization and liquefaction facilities, a pier with a ship berth for an LNG carrier, a turning basin in the Columbia River, and an 86.8-mile-long, 36" bidirectional pipeline from the terminal through Clatsop, Tillamook, and Columbia Counties in Oregon and Cowlitz County in Washington.

Directional boring (horizontal directional drilling, HDD) would be required in several locations.

Initial FERC filings were made in 2008 and project changes after the initial filings have slowed the process. One of the slower permitting agencies is the Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for the Columbia River. The project would require the modification of a federal flood protection system (levee) and federally authorized navigation channel. 

To speed up the permitting process, Oregon LNG has offered to contribute to the cost of conducting the studies required for the permits by donating the money through the Clatsop Diking Improvement Company #9. The law only allows the Corps to accept funds from a nonfederal public entity, so Oregon LNG can't donat the money directly.  

The Corps is soliciting comments specific to this proposal to accept funds under Section 214 of WRDA 2000 from the public, federal, state and local agencies and officials, and other interested parties. Comments will be part of the record, and considered in determining whether it would be in the public interest to proceed with this action. If the Portland District Commander determines, after considering public comments, that the acceptance and expenditure of the funds is in compliance with Section 214 of WRDA 2000 and is not otherwise contrary to the general public interest, the Portland District will implement Section 214 of WRDA 2000 through a signed Memorandum of Agreement and accept the funds from Clatsop Diking Improvement Company #9. A second informational public notice will be issued regarding the final decision on this matter.

Comments: Interested parties may submit, in writing, any comments directed specifically to this proposal to accept funds under Section 214 of WRDA 2000, and not to other regulatory processes administered by the Corps or other government agencies pertaining to the Oregon LNG Project. Comments should refer to Proposed Acceptance of Funds from Clatsop Diking Improvement Company #9 for Oregon LNG Project (PM-F-DD9-2015) and the date of this Public Notice and be postmarked by the comment due date. Comments must be sent to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District, ATTN: Marci E. Johnson, PO Box 2946, Portland, OR 97204-3495

Alternatively, email comments to: marci.e.johnson@usace.army.mil (MUST USE as the Subject: Public Notice PM-F-DD9-2015).

For more information, call Marci Johnson at 503-808-4765.