Yesterday morning a group of climate activists in Portland, Oregon gathered at the base of one of the city’s busiest bridges, to urge morning commuters to help put the final nail in the coffin of the Palomar natural gas pipeline. The pipeline’s main backer, NW Natural Gas, was holding its annual shareholder meeting this afternoon. This presented a great opportunity to call the company out on its support for a piece of fossil fuel infrastructure that would carve through stands of old growth in Mt Hood National Forest, cut across salmon-bearing streams, and add to the region’s dependence on fossil fuels. As one of our banners proudly proclaimed, NW Natural must learn that Oregonians won’t let the Palomar project move forward – not now, and not ever.
You can help stop the Palomar Pipeline by sending a message to NW Natural’s board of directors right now.
Earlier this spring, climate activists in Oregon celebrated NW Natural Gas’ withdrawal of its original application to build the Palomar Pipeline. This was and remains a major victory for our movement, but NW Natural is already plotting to bring back a scaled-down version of the pipeline. Palomar was originally supposed to bring imported LNG (liquefied natural gas) to the western half of the US, by connecting a proposed LNG terminal on the Columbia River to existing gas pipelines. Now the terminal associated with Palomar is dead, and NW Natural seems to have given up the western half of their project. But the company is discussing submitting a new application for a shorter Palomar Pipeline as early as next year.
No doubt NW Natural wants to cash in on the natural gas boom caused by widespread practice of fracking – even if connecting to an LNG terminal is no longer a viable option. But the “shorter” version of Palomar would still span 120 miles between the Oregon communities of Mollala and Madras, and would cut through the heart of Mt Hood National Forest. Installing the pipeline would require a clear-cut through the forest, damaging some of Oregon’s last old growth that serves as an important carbon sink.
Fortunately Oregonians are not about to let Palomar come back from the dead without a fight. This morning’s vigil at the base of the Hawthorne Bridge drew lots of supporting smiles, honks, and bike bell rings from morning commuters, showing the breadth of opposition to Palomar even among NW Natural’s own customers. By putting the Palomar Pipeline to rest once and for all, Oregon can protect its natural heritage while preventing our region from becoming ever more reliant on natural gas. The hideous environmental footprint of fracking has made it more apparent than ever that natural gas is not and never will be clean.
NW Natural, a company that claims it cares about the environment, needs to cancel any plans to bring back the Palomar Pipeline. Please help make this happen by emailing the board of directors.