Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Wednesday, July 23, 2014 OREGON PIPELINE HEARING CANCELLED As a result of an appeal filed by developers of a proposed natural gas pipeline, a hearing before the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners on the project application set for Sept. 10 has been cancelled. On Friday, July 18, Oregon Pipeline Company LLC filed a petition for review with the Oregon Court of Appeals to review two recent rulings from the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA): a remand of the board of commissioners’ October 2013 decision rejecting the company’s consolidated land-use application, and the dismissal of an appeal filed by project opponent Columbia Riverkeeper against the board’s original November 2010 ruling approving the application. In a ruling released June 27, LUBA remanded the application back to the county based on its finding that Commissioner Peter Huhtala was not impartial when he voted with the majority of the board to withdraw the original approval and later to deny Oregon Pipeline’s consolidated land-use application to build 41 miles of natural gas pipeline through the county. The remand means the board must reconsider the application without Huhtala taking part in the decision – the September hearing was set for this reconsideration. LUBA’s ruling came in response to an appeal filed by Oregon Pipeline, which claimed that Huhtala as well as Commissioner Scott Lee and former commissioner Debra Birkby all displayed evidence of bias against the project. LUBA found that there was not sufficient evidence of bias regarding Lee and Birkby. The proposed pipeline would serve a liquefied natural gas import/export terminal planned for the Skipanon Peninsula in Warrenton. The board of commissioners approved the pipeline application in November 2010, but two months later the board, with three new members including Huhtala, voted to withdraw the approval and reconsider the application. After two and a half years of legal wrangling over the commissioners’ jurisdiction, the board voted 5-0 in October 2013 to reject Oregon Pipeline’s land-use application. Oregon Pipeline appealed that decision to LUBA. Released by: Tom Bennett Community Relations Coordinator (503) 338-3622

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