Pembina Withdraws Jordan Cove Application, Holds Out for Federal Approval

Pembina Pipeline Corporation (Pembina) has withdrawn its application for a state permit for the Jordan Cover natural gas pipeline and export terminal in Oregon. 

Artist Rendering of Jordan Cove Export Facility (Photo: Jordan Cove LNG)

Pembina withdrew its application for a removal-fill permit after the Oregon Department of State Lands refused a request to extend its decision deadline past Jan. 31 to allow the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC) to present its decision on the project.

State Lands Directory Vicki Walker refused on the grounds that the department had already agreed to numerous deadline extensions and that the company had not adequately responded to questions raised by the department during the application process.

The removal-fill permit is needed to dredge sediment out of Coos Bay for the marine export terminal, and to construct a pipeline through and under waterways in southern Oregon.

The proposed natural gas terminal and a 230-mile (370-kilometer) feeder pipeline would permit shipment of natural gas from the United States and Canada to Asia and create local jobs.

Opponents say it would ruin habitat and that the increased use of a fossil fuel would contribute to global warming.

Two politicians from southern Oregon — a region that the proposed pipeline would cross — criticized Jordan Cove's tactics.

“The applicant’s behavior over the last year ... suggests to us that they are not significantly focused on gaining necessary approval from state agencies. It appears that they are counting instead on approval of their broader application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,” Sen. Jeff Golden, a Democrat from the Rogue Valley, and Rep. Pam Marsh, a Democrat from Ashland, said in a letter to Walker.

Paul Vogel, a spokesman for Jordan Cove, said in an email that it is awaiting a final determination by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Feb. 13, "at which time we will determine our path forward.”

Opponents are vowing to resist the project. Protesters occupied Democratic Gov. Kate Brown's office in November, demanding she oppose the pipeline project. She refused, and 21 protesters were arrested for trespassing. A prosecutor declined to file charges.

Brown, a Democrat, did share a letter with the protesters that she sent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a month earlier in which she opposed the federal agency's attempts to remove the state’s authority in the permitting process.

The Trump administration in August proposed streamlining approval of gas pipelines and other energy projects by limiting states’ certification authorities under the Clean Water Act. 

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said this month, after an agency under his jurisdiction said Jordan Cove won't jeopardize protected species, that the opinion "will pave the way for more American jobs and vastly expanded exports of domestically sourced liquified natural gas to prized Asian markets.”


— P&GJ and wire services

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