Northwest Environmental Defense Center

Northwest Defense is the Northwest Environmental Defense Center's blog (and newsletter). Learn about NEDC's latest work, current issues related to air and water quality, and conservation measures in the Pacific Northwest.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Port of Longview Ponders LPG

By Marla Nelson, Staff Attorney

Enough about crude oil. Let's talk LPG. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or LP-gas) consists of propane, propylene, butane, and butylenes. Suppliers obtain LPG mostly from gas wells but it is also a refinery by-product. The gas is stored as a liquid under moderate pressures. LPG is sold in the domestic commercial market as a heating fuel, but it is also used by the chemical industry, as a petrochemical feedstock, and the agriculture industry.

A rail car labelled Liquefied Petroleum Gas is shown in the railyard in Stratford this week. SCOTT WISHART / The Beacon Herald, available at: (last visited Feb. 19, 2015)

LPG does not produce visible emissions, and is therefore considered a "clean" fuel. But it does emit nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), and organic compounds. LPG combustion also produces carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N20) emissions, each of which are primary greenhouse gases. Burner design, burner adjustment, boiler operating parameters, and flue gas venting are the most significant factors affecting emissions.

The Port of Longview, and the Columbia River, may soon host a new liquefied petroleum gas terminal.
UPDATED 3/10/2015:

The Port of Longview is was considering a lease with Haven Energy for an LPG terminal that would ship propane and butane in pressurized rail cars from North Dakota to Longview. Capable of handling 47,000 barrels of LPG per day, the terminal would receive one train about every day and a half and three marine vessels per month. Haven Energy claimed the terminal will provide much needed jobs and can be safely operated. The veracity of those claims are questionable. For example, a 2009 rail accident in Italy involving train cars carrying LPG resulted in the country's most deadly rail accident since 2005.

Liquid petroleum poses environmental and safety risks to the Pacific Northwest when transported via rail and marine vessel through the Columbia Gorge and along the Columbia River. For this reason, NEDC submitted comments to the Port of Longview, requesting the Port decline from signing the lease, or in the very least carefully scrutinize the potential impacts of the proposal.

On the morning of March 10, 2015, the Port of Longview rejected Haven Energy's proposal. Major opponents of the project who worked hard for this outcome include Landowners and Citizens for a Safe Community.

Thank you for all of the hard work, and thank you to the Port of Longview for listening to the community's concerns and desire for a clean energy future!

1 comment:

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