Monday, February 9, 2009

New Natural Gas Pipeline for Washington State

Saturday, February 7 | 11:21 p.m.


A company that pipes natural gas into Clark County is pushing forward a plan to run a new pipeline up the Columbia Gorge and into the Hockinson area.

The new line would largely run alongside Williams Pipeline’s existing pipe, which starts in Stanfield, Ore., and runs along the north side of the Columbia River, passing north of Washougal to meet Interstate 5 near La Center.

However, the new pipeline would only go as far west as the center of Clark County, not clear to La Center.

Williams suspended fieldwork on the proposal, called the Blue Bridge Pipeline, in November. But on Tuesday, company officials plan to ask county commissioners for permission to begin surveying a possible route through county-run Camp Bonneville.

Williams hasn’t yet resumed fieldwork, Williams spokeswoman Michele Swaner said Friday. But the company may be preparing to do so.

"We are moving ahead on it," Swaner said.

In May and June, she said, the company will hold five public open houses on the proposed line in Clark, Skamania, Klickitat, Benton and Lewis counties.

Specific maps of the new route should be available later in the spring, Swaner said.

The new 30-inch or 36-inch natural gas pipe through the Gorge is supposed to begin service by Fall 2012.

If it does, more natural gas could reach the I-5 corridor, including the Portland area. The area’s only other source is a pipeline running south from Canada, Swaner said.

A new 182-mile pipeline could move up to 500 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, said Lori Volkman, Clark County’s lawyer on the issue.

But if the pipeline is to be built, Volkman said, current plans show that it would need the county’s permission. That’s because the new route would require a 75-foot-wide easement across Camp Bonneville.

Volkman said the current easement is 70 feet wide.

For more information, including a large-scale map of the pipeline route, visit

Michael Andersen: 360-735-4508 or

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