The Oregon Department of Energy is suspending its rulemaking process for an economic impact rule regarding liquefied natural gas receiving terminals, after President Bush signed the national energy bill containing language stating the federal government has "exclusive authority to approve or deny an application" for LNG project siting.

"The rulemaking is on hold as we further evaluate our role and authority following the signing of the new national energy bill," said Cathy Van Horn, project manager with the state energy department.

The department had asked members of the public for suggestions for the rule, and the comments were due Thursday. While the department examines what role the state will have in the siting process, that deadline is no longer in effect, Van Horn said.

Speaker here

Dr. Jerry Havens, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Arkansas who has studied the consequences of LNG releases for three decades, will give a talk at 7 p.m. Monday at the Performing Arts Center at 16th Street and Franklin Avenue in Astoria.

Conservation Leaders Network is sponsoring the talk, during which Havens will discuss safety issues relating to the LNG facilities proposed along the lower Columbia River. Havens studies the risks associated with an accidental spill of LNG or an attack on a LNG tanker, and his work with models of natural gas vapor clouds was used to set federal LNG siting requirements.

For more information, contact Peg Regan of Conservation Leaders Network at (541) 247-8079, or Cheryl Johnson at (503) 458-6910.

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