Bradwood Landing LNG Denied
In November 2010, Crag scored a victory against the Bradwood Landing facility on the Columbia River upstream from Astoria, Oregon. Working with Columbia Riverkeeper, Crag attorneys Chris Winter and Courtney Johnson argued that the proposed project was not a “small to medium sized water-dependent industrial development.” In addition, they argued that the County had artificially limited its review of the scale of the development to include only the land-based facility itself. The County excluded any dredging, docking areas and pipelines associated with the facility. The Oregon Court of Appeals hammered the final nail in the coffin for the project, finding that the County could not just minimize adverse impacts on fishing grounds and tribal resources. It also had to limit development that could cause significant adverse impacts to these resources.
As a result of challenges brought by Columbia Riverkeeper and other LNG opponents, Clatsop County’s land use approvals for the LNG were remanded. This was the second time that the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) had done so.
When the County approved the land use application, it also determined that mitigation efforts included in the project were sufficient to protect natural resources including endangered species and traditional fishing grounds. On review, LUBA determined that the meaning of the word “protect” requires that those resources be saved or shielded from anything more than de minimus damaging impacts. LUBA held that the County’s reliance on mitigation measures was insufficient. Again, the Court of Appeals agreed. After reviewing the definition of “protect” and the context of the phrase, the Court concluded that “‘Protect,’ in this context, means more than minimizing the adverse impacts of conflicting development through mitigation. It means inhibiting development that causes significant adverse impacts on the protected resource.”
In September 2010, the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development denied certification for the project under the Coastal Zone Management Act. This is a required certification, and the Department’s denial of the permit added yet another blow to any recovery of this project.
Read The Daily Astorian’s 2019 article about a case study on how activists opposed to LNG helped turn public opinion against the projects.
Learn more about how Crag works with our clients to use Oregon’s land use laws to challenge dirty fossil fuel projects.
The mouth of the Columbia River-Astoria, Oregon. Courtesy of Phillipe Reichart.
Crag represented Columbia Riverkeeper, a non-profit organization working in Oregon and Washington to protect and restore the Columbia River.