U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden has stepped in again in the liquefied natural gas controversy.

He has written to U.S. Forest Service Chief Gail Kimbell announcing his plan to fight a recently announced move that would allow construction of a 211-mile-long, 35-inch diameter pipeline through areas of Mount Hood National Forest.

Wyden's letter was prompted by an announcement by the Forest Service that the Mount Hood National Forest intended to change its forest plan to accommodate the Palomar Gasline Transmission Project. The proposal would allow the pipeline to make up to 66 crossings of streams and rivers in the forest, including several rivers that have received or are proposed for Wild and Scenic River designation.

"Constructing a 75- to 120-foot-wide path through valued forest reserves and across these pristine rivers would jeopardize the habitat for salmon, steelhead and other endangered specials and would radically and permanently alter the forest landscape of one of Oregon's most heavily visited recreational forests," said Wyden.

Wyden also noted that the proposed project is intended to connect to the Bradwood LNG terminal on the Columbia River. While the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a permit for the Bradwood project Sept. 18, it did so over the objections of state and tribal resource agencies, and federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior.

"Given that the actual construction of Bradwood is not, and should not be, considered a certainty, it is inappropriate to move forward on amending forest plans to allow construction of an entirely separate pipeline that would connect to it," Wyden said.

Wyden requested that Forest Service immediately rescind its proposed amendment.


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