July 20, 2007 Volume 108 Number 14

Construction unions voice support for liquefied natural gas terminal

ASTORIA — Members of the Columbia-Pacific Building Trades Council showed their support for the Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at a public hearing July 10 at Astoria High School.

Thirty members of various unions from both Oregon and Washington were present at the hearing and represented groups such as the Plumbers and Pipefitters, Electrical Workers, Sheet Metal Workers, Cement Masons and Laborers.

“Our affiliates have worked with NorthernStar to make this a safe and secure project, and we made that fact known to the Clatsop County Planning Commission,” stated John Mohlis, executive secretary of the Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council. “We’re hopeful that the Commission realized that this project is about good jobs for the county and the region. Bringing family-wage jobs to Clatsop County will be a huge boost for the people of the community.”

According to a study by University of Oregon professor Dr. Phillip Romero, an LNG facility providing natural gas to the Pacific Northwest will help increase household income by between $51 million and $215 million, and increase employment by 5,100 to 20,300 jobs.

“The Bradwood Landing facility will help protect the industrial base of our region from foreign competitors,” Mohlis said. “Bradwood provides an important competitive edge for resource-based manufacturing jobs such as pulp and paper and food processing.”

The owner of the Bradwood Landing project, NorthernStar Natural Gas, recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Columbia-Pacific Building Trades Council, solidifying a project that has had union support from its earliest stages.

The MOU states that the contractor chosen by NorthernStar to build the project will negotiate a project labor agreement (PLA) with the Columbia- Pacific Building Trades Council. The PLA insures that a highly-skilled local workforce will be employed to build the project, and that they will earn good wages, as well as health, pension and apprenticeship benefits, Mohlis said.

The Bradwood project will employ between 350 and 500 construction workers to build docks for LNG ships, natural gas holding tanks and infrastructure, including administration buildings.

The hearing was called by the Clatsop County Planning Commission to review the proposed zoning of the LNG import terminal located along the Columbia River, roughly 20 miles upriver from Astoria. The project will utilize the former site of the Bradwood lumber mill, which ceased operation in 1965 after more than 100 years.

If zoning changes are approved by the Clatsop County Planning Commission, the project will continue on toward both the state and federal approval processes, where labor support is expected to be strong.