NorthernStar Natural Gas suspends development of its Bradwood Landing LNG import terminal
PORTLAND, Ore. - NorthernStar Natural Gas has suspended development of its Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas import terminal near Astoria, Oregon. "The extended delays in the processing of state and federal permits for Bradwood Landing and the difficult investment environment have forced us to suspend development," said NorthernStar Natural Gas President Paul Soanes. "In particular, the challenging regulatory environment gives investors pause, especially considering that Bradwood Landing would have such a positive impact on the Northwest's economy and environment while supporting the region's transition to renewable energy by providing a new source of reliable and affordable natural gas." Since its inception, Bradwood has worked to ensure it will provide a significant and sustainable net benefit for the lower Columbia ecosystem, and serve as a model of sustainable development. Using best available science and recovery plans, the project included innovative measures to avoid and minimize impacts, robust mitigation, and a $59 million voluntary (but legally binding) Salmon Enhancement Initiative: the largest private investment of its kind ever proposed for the region. "While we're disappointed, we are truly grateful for the tremendous support the project received from citizens in Clatsop County and Oregon's business and labor communities," said Mr. Soanes. "Bradwood Landing is a great example of a project that business and labor came together to support. Not only would it have created hundreds of jobs, but it would have provided a needed new source of natural gas, which would have helped stabilize energy costs for thousands of businesses." Initial development work on Bradwood Landing began nearly six years ago. Bradwood is the site of the former Bradwood lumber mill, company town and has a natural deep-water port. Bradwood Landing received its FERC certificate order September 18, 2008 after an extensive scientific and technical review, which took three and a half years and included an official record in excess of 50,000 pages. On March 20, 2008, the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners approved Bradwood's consolidated land use application on a 4-1 vote after a nine-month public process. Earlier this year, Bradwood reached a key milestone when formal consultation began under the Endangered Species Act with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Previously, the U.S. Coast Guard determined that the Columbia River could be made suitable for the LNG marine traffic associated in its record of decision dated April 24, 2009, provided full implementation of the risk mitigation measures detailed in the Waterway Suitability Report are accomplished. Those measures were included as conditions when FERC issued its Certificate Order for the Bradwood Landing LNG terminal in September 2008. Bradwood Landing's coalition of supporters included the Oregon AFL-CIO, the Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council, the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council, the Oregon Machinists Council, the Washington Machinists Council, Carpenters Local 1707, the International Longshore Workers' Union (Columbia River Oregon Area), and the Steamship Operators Association. Bradwood Landing and its associated 36.3-mile pipeline would have provided a new source of natural gas directly into the Oregon and Washington natural gas market. It would have created more than 450 jobs over three years of construction and 65 permanent jobs while contributing more than $7.8 million annually in taxes to Clatsop County. An analysis of the effects of increased natural gas supply by former University of Oregon economist Dr. Phil Romero, showed that Bradwood Landing could reduce the wholesale cost of natural gas by 13 percent. Dr. Romero's analysis showed this decrease in energy costs would help support the creation of between 5,100 and 20,300 jobs.
Charles H. Deister Director, Media and Government Relations NorthernStar Natural Gas (503) 949-5762 CDeister@NSNG.com