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Oregon's Coos county to vote on blocking natural gas terminal

 

 

SEATTLE
Petroleumworld 05 17 2017

A coastal Oregon county will vote Tuesday on a ballot measure to block a proposed natural gas terminal, the latest in a series of efforts to thwart energy projects across the Pacific Northwest.

The measure would ban transport of fossil fuels not intended for local use through Coos County, located about 200 miles (322 kms) south of Portland.

Backers have called the initiative a response to a $7.6 billion proposal by Calgary-based Veresen Inc, to build a facility in the county where natural gas would be liquefied and transferred to tanker ships for sale abroad. They have cast the measure as a local refusal to contribute to global warming.

Should the ban pass, it could bring the county into conflict with the administration of President Donald Trump. Gary Cohn, head of the National Energy Council, in April singled out the Veresen project as a priority for the administration.

The Coos County initiative is part of regional resistance in the Northwest to fossil fuel projects that has seen the blockage of several major export facilities.

Last year, the Lummi Nation Native American tribe and environmental groups blocked an export terminal in Northwest Washington state that would have moved Montana and Wyoming coal to markets in Asia.

In January, Washington State denied a permit for a coal export terminal in the city of Longview, citing concerns about the financial viability of the project.

In February, bowing to pressure from activists, Seattle's city council voted to divest approximately $3 billion from Wells Fargo, citing concerns over the bank's support of the North Dakota Access Pipeline, among other factors.

Passage of the Coos Bay measure would be another blow for liquid natural gas projects on the West Coast, even as depots in other areas of the country have moved forward.

Cheniere Energy Inc opened a port in Louisiana last year and several other companies are set to open projects on the Gulf Coast in 2018 and 2019. Dominion Energy Inc plans to open the Cove Point LNG port in Maryland later this year.



Reporting by Tom James; Additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Timothy Gardner; Editing by Patrick Enright and Andrew Hay from Reuters.

reuters.com May 16, 2017

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