Oregan officials frustrate natural gas interests with delays

Over the years, liquefied natural gas interests have faced a number of struggles in Oregon. Each attempt to extract resources from the state's land seems to end in complex litigation. In one case, project backers gave up chasing legal disputes after spending $100 million with nothing to show for their efforts.

Many expect the most recent liquefied natural gas dispute to end up in court, but the case involves so many state and federal organizations that it can be hard to untangle all the red tape. According to one side, the state is delaying a decision about whether a terminal can be built without reason. According to the state, there is not enough information to make a decision about whether the terminal would be in line with coastal regulations.

The Department of Land Conservation and Development states that the developing company, Oregon LNG, has not received all the necessary permits for the project. It also states the company has yet to undergo a required environmental review by federal agencies. A decision about the project has been put on hold until those items are received, according to a state spokesperson.

The items required for the review were not received in time for the agency to make a decision by its Jan. 3 deadline. According to reports, the agency has a six-month time limit for decisions, and Oregon LNG pushed for the clock to start in 2013. Once the clock started on the review, the company was grandfathered in to existing environmental laws, although officials with the county where the project is slated believe this makes little difference in the end result.

It's obvious that Oregon LNG is dealing with complex legal issues that could turn into environmental and business litigation. With numerous permits, agencies and regulations involved, projects such as this require a strong understanding of legalities associated with several niches.

Source: The Oregonian, "Oregon LNG: State delays decision, frustrating everyone involved" Ted Sickinger, Jan. 09, 2014

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