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, April 9, 2015

Liquefied natural gas exports: not the answer for Oregon

By Marla Nelson, Staff Attorney

Two major liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects are proposed for Oregon's coastline: (1) Jordan Cove LNG, and (2) Oregon LNG. Natural gas is a cleaner energy source that oil or coal. But that does not mean LNG is a sustainable option, or the right option for Oregon. Concerns about the LNG export terminals proposed in Oregon include harm to property rights, wildlife, water resources, air quality, and the climate. LNG production requires lots of energy and freshwater. And although LNG may be a cleaner energy source than coal, the proposed LNG export terminal in Coos Bay, Oregon, would become one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in Oregon once PGE Boardman shuts down in 2020. LNG export is simply not the answer for Oregon.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Mining in our National Forests deserves greater scrutiny from the U.S. Forest Service

By Marla Nelson, Staff Attorney

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is considering the approval of 28 Plans of Operations for mining activities in the Granite Creek Watershed (collectively called the Granite Creek Watershed Mining Project). The proposed area covers approximately 94,480 acres in the Whitman Ranger District of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and the North Fork John Day Ranger District of the Umatilla National Forest. Much of this area is already degraded from historic mining practices, road-building, and other surface-disturbing activity. Does it really make sense to allow the proposed in-stream mining, suction dredging, and road-building activities in a region that has already experienced degradation from human disturbance?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

New and Improved Suction Dredge NPDES Permit in Oregon

By Becca Fischer, Law Clerk

On March 27, 2015, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a revised water quality permit for wastewater discharges from small-scale suction dredge mining operations used to recover precious metals and minerals from streambed sediments.  The Northwest Environmental Defense Center and collaborating organizations have worked hard to improve the terms of this 700PM National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System  (NPDES) general permit to ensure it protects Oregon’s high quality waters and the uses that depends on them.

Suction dredge sediment plume
Photo: Oregon Wild,