Cities line up to join Forest Groves LNG opposition

Molalla adopts anti-LNG resolution, Gaston, Yamhill will vote this month

Cities along the proposed route of two liquefied natural gas terminals are lining up in opposition to the energy projects.

The city of Molalla adopted a resolution opposing the projects in a 5-2 vote last night. The cities of Gaston and Yamhill both voted unanimously last night to consider similar language at meetings this month.

The Yamhill vote has yet to be scheduled, but may come as soon as next week. Gaston will consider their resolution on April 23.

All the city measures are based on the language Forest Grove adopted on March 10 opposing the projects. That resolution cited environmental and economic concerns as well as expressing concern that the pipelines could undermine the city's watershed, which it will traverse.

Three companies are planning to build LNG terminals in Oregon, one in Coos Bay, and two near Astoria. Two other consortiums are planning to build pipelines connecting the Astoria-area terminals to the Portland-area's natural gas infrastructure.

So far, proposed pipeline paths indicate the lines would run from Clatsop County into Washington County near Gales Creek, Forest Grove and Gaston, then run near Yamhill and on to Molalla.

Dave Rohrer, a Gaston-area farmer, spoke out against LNG last night.

Rohrer said that one of the pipeline paths runs through his property, the other runs nearby. He said that he opposed the LNG terminals because Oregon didn't need the extra gas or hassle.

'It's all for California, those pipes are,' Rohrer told the News-Times, 'let them bring them into their own land.'

Because of the 2005 Energy Policy Act, local governments have little say in the siting of LNG terminals or natural gas pipelines, making the resolutions largely symbolic.

Even so, the adoption of resolutions could put more pressure on state and federal politicians who could work to change the law.

On Monday, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, Hillary Clinton, Joseph Lieberman and Chris Dodd introduced legislation that would change the federal siting process, giving state and local governments more say-so in the process.

That move followed an April 5 whistle-stop by Clinton in Hillsboro where the Democratic Presidential hopeful introduced the LNG issue into the presidential primary race.

Her rival in the race, Illinois Senator Barack Obama, has also signed onto the Wyden bill.