The Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals overturned the Clatsop County Commission approval of the Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas project Tuesday.

Local citizen groups raised 21 challenges to the commission's approval, which was made last spring.

On Tuesday, LUBA ruled in favor of two of the challenges, finding that the county did not properly assess the Bradwood project size or the impact it may have on salmon and traditional fishing areas.

The LUBA decision remands the two land-use decisions back to the Clatsop County Commission and invalidates the Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS), a key local approval in the federal LNG permitting process.

The county's LUCS is a required piece of state assessments of the project.

As the state of Oregon mounts its challenge to the federal approval of the Bradwood project at the U.S. Court of Appeals, the LUBA ruling stalls progress on the state and local levels for project developer NorthernStar Natural Gas Inc.

LUBA ruled that the county failed to properly determine whether the LNG terminal and pipeline "protects" salmon and traditional fishing areas and that the county improperly decided that the project is "small to medium-sized."

"This decision is a victory for healthy communities and clean energy," Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper, one of the appellant groups.

But NorthernStar officials said they were satisfied with the ruling as well, because it rejected 19 of the 21 challenges.

"We are confident the remaining two items remanded by LUBA can be successfully resolved," said Joe Desmond, vice president of external affairs for NorthernStar.

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