Northwest Pipeline could add capacity through Whatcom

A natural gas pipeline that runs south from Sumas could be expanded to help supply a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal in Oregon.

About 8 miles of 36-inch pipeline would be added to the existing Northwest Pipeline to form “loops” to add capacity in the Whatcom County portion of the 140-mile expansion project.

Every county that Northwest Pipeline travels through along the general route of the Interstate 5 corridor also would get additional pipeline as part of the “Washington Expansion Project.” Cowlitz County would get the most, with 35 planned additional miles for a loop near Woodland, south of Longview.

The expansion in Washington state would help supply a proposed Oregon LNG shipping terminal planned for construction at Warrenton (near Astoria) at the mouth of the Columbia River.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – the U.S. agency that oversees natural gas transportation and onshore LNG projects – has published a draft of the potential environmental impacts from both projects, and is accepting comments through Oct. 6.

The facility could supercool the natural gas into LNG for transportation, and export it to places the U.S. does not have free trade agreements with, import LNG from other countries, and possibly provide more natural gas supplies to the Portland metropolitan area and parts of the Pacific Northwest, according to the draft.

Oregon LNG would build an 86.8-mile 36-inch diameter pipeline to connect from the Northwest Pipeline at Woodland to the terminal near Astoria.

The 970-page draft environmental impact statement, along with thousands of pages of supplemental information, can be found online by searching for “Oregon LNG and Washington Expansion Project” under “General Search” at ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp. Be sure to change the date range to include Aug. 5, 2015, which is when the draft was published.

Comments can be sent electronically by going to the “eComment” link under the “Documents and Fillings” tab at ferc.gov. All comments on this draft should reference the docket numbers: CP09-6-001, CP09-7-001 and CP13-507-000.

Written comments can be mailed to Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

No public meetings for spoken comments are scheduled in Whatcom County. The nearest public meeting on the draft will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Sedro-Woolley Community Center, 703 Pacific St.

Northwest Pipeline is owned by Williams, the same company that has proposed building another natural gas pipeline through Whatcom County to supply a proposed LNG plant on Vancouver Island.

Reach Samantha Wohlfeil at 360-715-2274 or samantha.wohlfeil@bellinghamherald.com. Follow her on Twitter at @BhamPolitics.