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Gas pipleline opponents gain key allies

More Oregon politicians are poised to weigh in on the debate over liquid natural gas terminals in Oregon.

U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio has drafted a letter supporting Gov. Ted Kulongoski's demand that federal regulators stop the siting process until a need can be shown for the terminals.

Three companies are working with federal regulators to build liquid natural gas terminals near Astoria and Coos Bay. The proposals would send the pipelines from two of the projects through western Washington County and northern Yamhill County.

Because of the 2005 Federal Energy Act, state regulators have a relatively small role to play in the siting process, which is largely governed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee.

Molly Simmons, a DeFazio spokeswoman, wouldn't talk specifics Tuesday, but did say the letter is in the works, and would likely be released later this week.

'A draft of the letter has been written and we're working on co-sponsorship,' Simmons said.

U.S. Rep David Wu, whose district includes Washington County, is expected to sign on.

Last month, U.S. Sen.Ron Wyden said he'll oppose development of liquefied natural gas terminals in Oregon until federal regulators prove there's a need.

Meanwhile, the Forest Grove City Council is also set to weigh in on the contentious terminals.

City Councilor Pete Truax will present a resolution opposing the construction projects at the city council's March 10 meeting.

Tuax said that he has some support on the council for the measure, but doesn't know if it will pass.

Forest Grove Mayor Richard Kidd says that the chief concerns among councilors about the liquid natural gas terminals is how the construction of pipelines through northwestern Washington County could effect the city's watershed and how heavy tanker traffic on the Columbia could impact the region's economic climate.

The Forest Grove City Council's next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, March 10, in the Community Auditorium, 1915 Main St.

Members of the public may testify or submit written comments at the meeting. Written comments may also be sent to the city recorder's office, P. O. Box 326, 1924 Council St., Forest Grove, Ore. 97116, prior to the meeting.