It’s been popping up in the news here, but the proponents of some of these projects have been desperately trying to keep a lid on them. So, here’s my brief take on the 2 proposed natural gas pipelines in Western Oregon (with the attendant LNG terminal).
Oregon LNG and Palomar are two energy companies that are taking advantage of a ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that cuts out local input into the siting of these facilities. Welcome to democracy.
There’s a host of reasons that this is a bad idea for our area….I won’t go into all of them, but briefly, Oregon’s natural gas consumption is declining, pipelines are an undefendable terrorist magnet, and I watched Syriana.
Instead, here’s some personal experience with these issues. In 1999, a few months after we moved from Bellingham, WA, the Olympic Pipeline failed in the midst of beautiful Whatcom Falls park. 3 people were killed and thousands of gallons of fuel dumped into a spectacular salmon stream. Sadly enough, the kids playing with fireworks probably saved a lot of lives by igniting the spill, since the creek flows through town, a block from where we used to live.
The farm I got my start at, Cloud Mountain Farm, outside of Bellingham, has its own drama with that same pipeline. A couple of years back, the pipeline that cuts through their farm was due for replacement, which was a huge, dirty, invasive, obnoxious, disruptive process. When the owners told the pipeline company how their soil needed to be treated, they were given bland assurances that they’ve done this lots of times, and “you’ll never know we were there.”
You know how this one ends, right?
New pipe is in, all the workers are gone, and lo and behold, the soil that is covering their pipeline is thick, sticky clay subsoil. The topsoil that Tom had been shepherding for 30+ years is probably buried 6′ underground, and he’s left with soil that won’t grow anything without a lot of work and inputs.
If you want to get involved, check out Oregon First, No LNG, or for a bit of a horrorshow, check out the map of the proposed OregonLNG pipeline (Palomar is keeping a low profile, and not putting anything on the web…)
Updates: There’s more comments on this from my crosspost at Kos, where some other energy types weight in. Also, the governor weighed in over the weekend with some great thoughts on the subject, and Sal posts some commentary on that