Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The Oregon Supreme Court has rejected a challenge by developers of a proposed natural gas pipeline through Clatsop County, clearing the way for the board of commissioners to take final action on Oregon LNG's development application.

The high court, in a ruling issued Thursday morning, March 28, denied the developers' petition for review and upheld a 2012 ruling by the Oregon Court of Appeals in favor of Clatsop County. It appears to bring to an end the two-year legal fight over the board of commissioners' decision to seek reconsideration of an earlier county approval of the application from Oregon Pipeline LLC to build 41 miles of pipeline to serve a proposed liquefied natural gas import/export terminal in Warrenton.

County Manager Scott Somers said the board may act within a month to take final action on reconsideration of the consolidated land-use application.

The county board of commissioners originally granted conditional approval of the application in November 2010. In January 2011 the board, with three new members, voted to direct the county's legal counsel  to withdraw the approval for reconsideration. In March 2011 the board gave preliminary approval to findings that rejected the Oregon Pipeline application. Before the commissioners could take final action, however, Oregon Pipeline filed a writ of mandamus in Clatsop County Circuit Court arguing that the board's decision to withdraw was invalid.

Circuit Court Judge Phil Nelson ruled in favor of the county in May 2011, and his decision was upheld on appeal to the Oregon Court of Appeals in October 2012. Oregon Pipeline subsequently appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court.

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