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Should We Trash Salmon for LNG?

by Editorial Board
The Daily Astorian, November 21, 2008

(Alex Pajunas) Researchers have found the slow-moving backwaters between the proposed Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas terminal site and Brownsmead are valuable habitat for chinook salmon fry. Less than one year old, the fry use the shallow marshes for food and predator protection as they grow and prepare to venture out to the sea. Now we're beginning to know exactly what's at stake at Bradwood Landing

The dirty little secret about the Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas terminal proposal is that it would violate critical salmon habitat. Now we know much more precisely what is at stake. Cassandra Profita's Monday article contains considerable detail about research by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

In a nutshell, researchers find the waters just off Bradwood are a very important transit point for salmon. But to build the Bradwood LNG terminal, 46 acres of the Clifton Channel would be dredged. Once operating, the terminal would discharge industrial water into the channel, and ships would take water from the channel for ballast.

Degradation of salmon habitat is how certain fish species became endangered. At this stage of recovery process, why insult the salmon habitat further?

NorthernStar - the company behind the Bradwood Landing LNG proposal - has made a financially generous offer to mitigate for lost salmon habitat. But mitigation is also what we've been doing for decades.

If a prospective LNG terminal at Bradwood were really essential to the well being of this state or region, there might be a reason to have a serious discussion about the price of trashing salmon habaitat. But no one really needs this LNG terminal, except the developers who intend to get rich by building it - then flipping it to a larger company. This LNG project is a blue chip in the game of poker that big Texas energy interests will reliably play. We saw it with Enron.

To place an industrial plant such as an LNG terminal next to waters that are vital salmon habitat is not smart. If we were to acquiesce to the NorthernStar proposal, it would only demonstrate that we've learned nothing in the past 20 years.

Editorial Board, Senior vice president, Bradwood Landing LLC
Should We Trash Salmon for LNG?
The Daily Astorian, November 21, 2008

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