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White House Advisor Promises Approval For Oregon's Controversial LNG Project


National Economic Council chairman Gary Cohn arrives at the White House, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Washington.

National Economic Council chairman Gary Cohn arrives at the White House, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Washington.

Andrew Harnik/AP

One of President Trump’s top economic advisors says the administration plans to approve a permit for the controversial Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas project in Coos Bay.

In an interview at a policy summit Thursday, White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn said building terminals that would ship LNG to Japan and Germany would offer a big boost the U.S. economy.

“The first thing we’re going to do is permit an LNG export facility in the Northwest,” he said. “Just think of the transport time from the Northwest to Japan versus anywhere else. Then we need to get facilities on the east coast to Germany.”

Cohn didn’t refer to the Jordan Cove project by name, but he did say “the one we’re going to permit in the Northwest, it’s been turned down twice already.”

The White House confirmed that Cohn was referring to the proposed Jordan Cove LNG export terminal, The Washington Post reported Friday.

A LNG terminal in Sweden.  Jordan Cove is planning a similar facility in Coos Bay, Oregon.

A LNG terminal in Sweden. Jordan Cove is planning a similar facility in Coos Bay, Oregon.

Jan Arrhénborg / AGA

The Canadian company Veresen recently resubmitted its plans to build the Jordan Cove LNG terminal and pipeline to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for its third attempt to get the project approved. Regulators effectively denied the project a permit in December.

After suffering two rejections from federal regulators under the Obama administration, Veresen CEO Betsy Spomer has said she thinks the project may have better luck with regulators under the Trump administration.

But opponents of the project have vowed to continue fighting it, and they say their numbers have grown in the wake of protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

In his interview, Cohn said building and operating LNG terminals would create “an enormous amount of good paying jobs.”

Japan and Germany are looking to LNG to replace nuclear power, he noted, and the U.S. has natural gas to sell them. But regulators haven’t approved the export permits.

“The LNG opportunity is enormous here,” he said. “We could be and should be the largest LNG exporter in the world. We have the molecules, we just haven’t permitted the exporting. We’re going to permit the exporting.”

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