Explosion at Wash. LNG facility raises questions about terminal near Warrenton

WARRENTON, Ore. -- The debate over a liquid natural gas terminal near the mouth of the Columbia River has raged for several years.

It's also drawn protests over the facilities and the pipelines that would send natural gas to it.

Dan Seres of Columbia Riverkeeper says an LNG terminal in Warrenton is just too dangerous.

"It's too much risk to pose to that kind of community," Seres says, "So what we're asking the state to do is to really fully assess this risk. I mean they had to evacuate a two-mile radius around that facility in Plymouth - a facility that's much smaller than the Oregon LNG project."

Two tanks at the proposed Warrenton facility would hold about six times the amount of liquid natural gas that the tanks at Plymouth do - 6.8 billion cubic feet.

KATU didn't get calls back from Oregon LNG on Monday. The group's website notes 50 years of shipping LNG with no major incidents.

It also says terminals are subject to stringent federal regulations.

Oregon LNG produced a map of the potential blast at the proposed Warrenton terminal for the U.S. Coast Guard.

Another map produced by the terminal's opponents shows the distance of that potential blast up to 3 miles across Warrenton and much of Astoria.

Columbia Riverkeeper contends evacuating those communities along highway 101 would be a nightmare.

"What happened in Plymouth was stunning," said Seres. "It was shocking, and it should prompt all of us to take a hard look at whether we impose that risk on a new community."