Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is natural gas in a liquid form.
LNG has significantly less volume than its gas form, making it easier to store and
transport to markets around the world.
LNG in Oregon
The Oregon Department of Energy is the lead state agency to
ensure the safety and security of potential LNG facilities.
An LNG import or export facility would most likely be sited
along the Oregon coast or Columbia River, which means the facility could be
affected by natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, fires, and
winter storms. Facilities would also have to be prepared for man-made events
like industrial accidents or fires, spills, terrorism, bomb threats, civil
disturbances, or violence in the workplace. An incident at an LNG facility
could have a negative impact on Oregonians working at the facility, living near
the terminals, or working, living, or recreating along the LNG vessel transit
As the Governor’s designated lead state agency protecting
Oregon’s interest in the potential siting of LNG facilities, ODOE has been
working with LNG developers, the United States Coast Guard (USCG), other state
agencies, and local emergency response organizations since 2004. ODOE’s goal is
to ensure that all safety and security issues are identified and resolved
adequately to protect public health and safety should the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approve the construction and operation of one or
more LNG terminals in Oregon.
FERC designated USCG to work with LNG developers, ODOE, and
affected local emergency response organizations to develop a comprehensive
facility and waterway Emergency Response Plan (ERP) for each proposed project.
The ERP is designed to identify activities in all areas of emergency
management, which include:
- Mitigation: activities which eliminate or reduce
the probability of an LNG disaster.
- Preparedness: activities to train and prepare
decision-makers and emergency workers to respond to an LNG event prior to an
actual incident. This includes better understanding the LNG infrastructure and
agency roles and responsibilities, identifying key assets, and conducting
drills and exercises that test the effectiveness of response plans and
strategies to more effectively protect public health and safety in the event of
- Response: activities to be taken to prevent loss
of life and property and to provide emergency assistance during an incident as
described in the ERP.
- Recovery/Restoration: short and long-term
activities to return all systems to normal status.
Cost Share Plan
Developing the ERP includes identifying resource gaps such
as personnel, facilities, equipment, and systems to implement the ERP. FERC
requires LNG developers to develop a cost-share plan to pay for state and local
emergency preparedness activities and resource needs throughout the life of
each proposed project.
With each LNG developer having its own approach and
interpretation for what is considered “adequate” emergency preparedness
activities and resource needs, ODOE established minimum state standards for LNG
emergency preparedness and response in Oregon. ODOE formalized the established
minimum state standards for LNG emergency preparedness and response into a Memorandum
of Understanding (MOU).
FERC recognized the importance of the MOU and now requires
each proposed LNG developer to enter into a MOU with ODOE. The MOU demonstrates
an LNG developer’s commitment to providing adequate safety and security
planning activities and resources throughout the life of the project. This
includes providing the necessary funding required to implement the ERP.
Signing the MOU with ODOE shows only an LNG developer’s
intent to meet state safety and security standards. Developers must provide
ODOE three documents for review and evaluation of whether an applicant’s
emergency preparedness approach meets state established standards. This
- Emergency Response Plan;
- Resource List that identifies gaps in personnel,
facilities, equipment and systems needed to implement the ERP; and
- Cost-Share Agreement with state and local
agencies for activities and resources identified in the ERP and Resource
- The USCG requires state approval of the ERP prior to
Should one or more LNG terminals be sited, constructed, and
become operational in Oregon, ODOE is responsible for overseeing all emergency
preparedness activities throughout the life of each project.
LNG Facility Approval
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has
exclusive authority to site LNG terminals in the United States. FERC’s authority
is conditioned on the applicant’s ability to comply with other statutory
requirements or various aspects of the project. The federal government has
delegated authority to the states to regulate various federal statutes such as
the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. LNG developers must comply with
conditions imposed by states carrying out these regulatory authorities.
As the lead state agency overseeing Oregon’s interests in the
siting of LNG facilities in the state, ODOE coordinates the participation of
state agencies in the federal siting process – this means reviewing proposals,
reports, or other LNG plans and coordinating the state’s response.
table below provides a summary of the state’s authorities.
|Protecting Oregon's interests in the federal siting process
Lead agency: ODOE Energy Facility Siting Division
|ODOE is responsible for overseeing Oregon's interests in the siting of LNG terminals in the state. Activities include:|
- Coordinating the state's review and comments of draft resource reports submitted by LNG developers.
- Coordinating the state's review and comments of FERC's draft and final Environmental Impact Statements
- Coordinating other state activities involving the federal siting process, as directed by the Governor.
|Safety and security
Lead agency: ODOE Nuclear & Energy Emergency Preparedness Division
is responsible for ensuring the protection of public health and safety in the
event of an LNG emergency at a terminal or along the LNG vessel transit
route. Activities include:|
approving, approving with conditions, or denying LNG developer emergency
approving, approving with conditions, or denying LNG developer cost share
minimum state standards for LNG emergency preparedness and response in Oregon.
a memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to ensure LNG developers are committed to
meeting state standards for LNG emergency preparedness in Oregon.
- Overseeing safety and security
activities throughout the life of each LNG project sited, constructed, and
operated in Oregon.
Zone Management Act
Lead Agency: Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD)
|The mission of
Oregon’s Coastal Management Program is to work in partnership with coastal
local governments, state and federal agencies, and other stakeholders to ensure
that the state's coastal and ocean resources are managed, conserved, and
developed consistent with statewide planning goals. The federal Coastal Zone
Management Act provides DLCD with a unique regulatory authority
to review various federal actions in or affecting the state's coastal zone for
consistency with the Coastal Management Program. LNG applicants must
demonstrate to DLCD that facility construction and operation activities comply
with enforceable policies of Oregon’s Coastal Management Program. DLCD’s review
process for consistency with the CZMA:
submits Coastal Zone Certification to DLCD indicating proposed activity complies
with Oregon’s Coastal Management Program
provides DLCD all necessary data and information to support the certification
reviews applicant’s Coastal Zone Certification for consistency with Oregon’s
Coastal Management Program and:
other state agencies as applicable
- DLCD issues “coastal
concurrences" for approvals or "coastal objections” for denials
|Clean Water Act
Lead Agencies: Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL)
|Section 401 of the
federal Clean Water Act requires that any federal license or permit to conduct
an activity that may result in a discharge to
waters of the United States must first receive a water quality
certification from the state in which the activity will occur. DEQ is
responsible for issuing water quality certifications in Oregon. Section
404 of the Clean Water Act provides states with authority over dredge-and-fill
activities in wetlands and other waters that require permits from the Corp of
Engineers and DSL for discharge of dredged and fill material.
In Oregon, the Corp of Engineers and DSL offer a Joint Permit Application,
submitted to both agencies, so that processing can happen concurrently.
In addition, DEQ and the Corp of Engineers offer a single public notice process
for the permit and the DEQ 401 water quality certification. Activities include:
The Corp of Engineers and
DSL decide to approve the Joint Permit Application and issue a Section 404
permit, approve the application with conditions, or deny the application. DEQ’s
water quality certification permit is required for Joint Permit Application approval.
submits a Joint Permit Application to
the Corp of Engineers and DSL for evaluation
submits water quality certification application to DEQ for evaluation
- The Corp
of Engineers publishes a Public Notice to solicit public comments for Section
404 permit (dredge and fill activities) and Section 401 water quality
conducts public hearing if necessary
determines whether to approve the application and issue a water quality
certification permit, approve the application with conditions, or deny the
|Clean Air Act
must demonstrate to DEQ that facility construction and operation activities as
well as LNG vessel activities comply with enforceable policies of Oregon’s
Clean Air Act. Activities include:
submits a Notice of Intent to DEQ for review, which includes:
of the nature, location, design capacity, and typical operating schedule of the
of short-term/annual maximum amount and type of regulated air pollutant emitted
of air quality and visibility impact of the source
reviews and evaluates the application
- DEQ approves or denies a
Clean Air Act permit
LNG is natural gas in a liquid form. It is turned into
a liquid by cooling the gas to around -260°F (-160°C). This shrinks the volume
of the gas 600 times, making it easier to store and transport to markets around
the world. When LNG reaches its destination, it is heated at a regasification
facility, which returns it to a gas form. It is then piped to homes, businesses
Beginning in the early-to-mid 2000s, a number of energy
companies and developers began investigating the potential of constructing
LNG import terminals in multiple locations in Oregon –
both along the Columbia River and near Coos Bay on the Pacific Coast. The
intent was to bring natural gas from large natural gas producing countries for
use in the Western United States. At that time, the siting of such facilities
fell within the purview of Oregon’s Energy Facility Siting Council.
In August 2005, President Bush signed into law the Energy
Policy Act of 2005 giving FERC
exclusive authority to approve or deny the siting, construction, expansion or
operation of LNG terminals located onshore or in state waters. Recognizing the
importance of participating in the federal review process, the Governor
designated ODOE as the lead state agency for
ensuring that Oregon’s interests are addressed in the federal FERC siting
process for LNG facilities and associated pipeline projects. Additionally, ODOE
has been delegated the responsibilities for emergency preparedness for LNG
facilities (ORS 469). This means that it is ODOE’s responsibility to ensure
there is a plan in place to protect citizens from LNG leaks and fires, should a
terminal be built, and to provide oversight throughout the life of the project.
Five proposals to build import
terminals in Oregon have been considered in recent years: four on the Columbia River and one in Coos Bay.
Today, there is just one active proposal for an LNG export terminal located in Coos Bay, as well as an associated natural gas pipeline from Malin to Coos Bay.