A gas company in Oregon, known as Oregon LNG, has been attempting to get permission for the construction of a terminal and a pipeline for natural gas. It would be constructed out on the Skipanon Peninsula, which is located in Warrenton. This location would put the facility right near the end of the Columbia River.
Part of the company’s goal is then to ship the liquid natural gas along the river. This has been a source of contention, as some groups in the area — such as Columbia Riverkeeper — are opposed to this action.
In order to move forward with the project, Oregon LNG worked with the Coast Guard to determine if the shipping would be safe. Back in 2009, the Coast Guard actually produced a letter on the behalf of the energy company, saying that it would be fine to ship liquid natural gas by water.
This letter has been challenged multiple times over the years, even going to a federal appeals court. Most recently, it was seen by the 9th Circuit Court, and the court decided not to make a decision one way or the other, saying that they did not have the jurisdiction to do so. The reasoning for this was simply that the letter itself was not considered to be a final action, something that actually made shipping by river possible, and the court only deals with those types of decisions.
Anyone who is involved in this type of civil litigation and the appeals process definitely needs to know what types of decisions a court has the jurisdiction to make before filing for the appeal. A case like this can illustrate the need to do proper legal research beforehand.
Source: Courthouse News Service, “9th Circuit Won’t Review LNG Shipments Letter” Tim Hull, Aug. 05, 2014