KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) — A major West Coast liquified natural gas pipeline and export terminal is officially on pause after state reversals of two of its dredging permits last week.
Jordan Cove Energy Project manager and associate general counsel, Donald Sullivan, filed a letter Tuesday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission citing a list of state permit denials that prevent the project from moving ahead despite a federal approval from the agency, The Herald and News reported.
Sullivan wrote that the applicants have decided to pause the development of the project while the effect of these decisions is assessed.
Jordan Cove would be the first such LNG overseas export terminal in the lower 48 states. The proposed 230-mile (370-kilometer) feeder pipeline would begin in Malin, in southwest Oregon, and end at the city of Coos Bay on the rural Oregon coast, crossing through four southern Oregon counties.
The letter also requested that the U.S. regulatory agency withdraw its consultation requests with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service on Jordan Cove’s behalf “to conserve the resources of the Commission and other operating agencies.”
Earlier this month, Oregon’s Land Use Board of Appeals reversed the project’s permits to dredge in Coos Bay, issued by Coos County and the City of Coos Bay, on grounds that the company had not adequately justified why the coastal areas in question, zoned for conservation use, needed to be converted to vessel navigation zones. The board has either remanded or completely reversed eight of the company’s needed local permits in the past year.
In January, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission upheld Oregon’s denial of a project permit under the Clean Water Act. In February, the Department of Commerce sustained Oregon’s objection to the project under the Coastal Zone Management Act. Sullivan mentioned these setbacks in this week’s letter.
Southern Oregon tribes, environmentalists, many anglers and coastal residents have opposed the pipeline since 2006.
Allie Rosenbluth, campaigns director for Rogue Climate, said the developments are encouraging but that Jordan Cove’s possession of a permit from the federal commission still allows it to seize land under eminent domain, even though it can’t yet begin construction.
The state, area tribes, Rogue Climate and other organizations are challenging the federal approval in court to strip Jordan Cove of its ability to take private land. A judge is expected to make a decision on that in June.
Though the latest developments likely mean that Jordan Cove is all but laid to rest, Rosenbluth said the project’s opponents want it gone completely.
Canadian pipeline company “Pembina (Pipeline) needs to see the writing on the wall and cancel this project for good so that our communities can move on to building jobs in clean energy, energy efficiency, sustainable fisheries and agriculture,” she said.