UPDATE (4:18 p.m. PT)
The Jordan Cove Energy Project has abruptly withdrawn its application for a key permit from the state of Oregon.
In a letter dated Jan. 23, the project told the Oregon Department of State Lands that the company was withdrawing the application effective Friday.
No reason was given, but earlier this week, the department had denied Jordan Cove’s request for a fifth deadline extension for the application.
It’s not immediately clear what the withdrawal means for the Jordan Cove project.
Ali Ryan Hansen with the Department of State Lands says the company needs the so-called “removal-fill” permit for dredging in Coos Bay, as well as for the pipeline’s hundreds of waterway and wetland crossings. Now, if the company wants to do that work, Hansen says, it will have to start the application all over again.
“It would be the same process, but with the Department of State Lands evaluating the information submitted just as stringently as we would for a brand new application,” she says.
Jordan Cove says new demands for information from other Oregon agencies made it impossible for the company to meet the Department of State Lands’ latest deadline on Jan. 31.
Opponents of the project applauded the latest development in a saga that’s been going on, in one form or another, for more than a decade.
“It’s a huge step backwards for Jordan Cove,” says Hannah Sohl, with the environmental group Rogue Climate. “To build this project, they have to get those permits.”
But Jordan Cove’s Paul Vogel says the company is looking ahead.
“Having received all local land use permits,” he wrote in an email, “the next major milestone in Jordan Cove’s regulatory process will be the final determination by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on February 13, 2020, at which time we will determine our path forward.”
If FERC gives Jordan Cove a green light, the company may argue that federal laws override Oregon’s laws. In that case, the outcome may ultimately lie with the courts.
Vogel declined to discuss that question, for now. But wrote he “should be able to in the foreseeable future.”