Oregon LNG withdraws Army Corps lawsuit
ASTORIA — Energy company Oregon LNG has withdrawn a lawsuit filed against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before a judge could officially dismiss it. The move will theoretically let the company refile the complaint.
Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta ruled against Oregon LNG in late December. But the ruling isn't official without the signature of a federal district judge, and the company voided the lawsuit before that could happen, reported The Daily Astorian.
Oregon LNG failed to prove that the Army Corps abandoned property on Warrenton's Skipanon Peninsula, according to Acosta's ruling. The company wants to build a liquefied natural gas facility there, but the Corps has nearly 60-year-old rights to the property.
Oregon LNG could not be immediately reached for comment.
Army Corps public affairs specialist Michelle Helms described the company's decision as "unexpected."
"But, as we've said before, this site is a part of our plan to maintain the federal navigation channel there, so we're doing our part," added Helms.
Opponents of Oregon LNG's planned $6 billion terminal and pipeline project welcomed the legal setback.
The lawsuit's withdrawal doesn't provide as much closure as a dismissal, which likely would have settled the case permanently. But the executive director of Hood River-based environmental group Columbia Riverkeeper, which is opposed to the LNG project, didn't seem too concerned about the suit being re-filed.
It "seems highly unlikely that they would get a different result," said director Brett VandenHeuvel. "They withdrew because they lost."
"It's just one more legal defeat for Oregon LNG in kind of a long string of them," said Columbia Riverkeeper attorney Miles Johnson. "It makes it harder for them to see how they're going to get this project off the ground."