Department of Ecology News Release - July 25, 2008
OLYMPIA - Outlining a list of major public and environmental safety concerns left unaddressed in the final environmental review of the Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas project, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) today issued a strongly worded letter to the federal agency in charge of permitting the project.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is expected to issue its decision soon on a certificate of public convenience and necessity. This certificate essentially gives Northern Star - the parent company of the Bradwood Landing pipeline project - a nod to continue planning for construction. A portion of the pipeline will run above ground from the Columbia River toward Kelso.
In his letter, Ecology Director Jay Manning asks that FERC reconsider Washington state's concerns that were submitted during the project's environmental review phase.
"Ecology is disappointed that FERC's final environmental review for Bradwood Landing failed to adequately address concerns we raised in previous comments on behalf of Washington's citizens and environment," said Manning. "We are asking FERC to require Northern Star to obtain and comply with state and local environmental permits as a condition of any approval order or certificate."
Chief among Ecology's concerns:
In 2005, Congress passed a law that gave sole authority to FERC for siting, construction, expansion and operation of liquefied natural gas terminals. Gov. Chris Gregoire strongly opposed this change because it undermined local and state ability to protect citizens and natural resources. Only if FERC agrees, will local and state public safety and environmental protection standards be included as conditions of certificates it issues.
Communities have expressed strong reservations to the Governor's office and Ecology about what impacts this project could have on public health and safety, the environment, tourism, recreation and the economy. Washington's regulatory authority for this project is ensuring the project meets state water quality standards and rules.
Manning said, "If the project is authorized, we will work closely with our counterparts in Oregon who have the environmental regulatory authority over the terminal construction and operation to keep Washington residents' concerns in the forefront."
This is the fourth official communication since 2005 Ecology has sent to FERC on the environmental reviews for this project.
Media Contact: Kim Schmanke, 360-407-6239 (desk)
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