The companies backing the Jordan Cove energy project in southern Oregon have appealed a federal decision denying permits needed to move forward.
The Canadian energy firm Veresen and the Williams pipeline company propose to build a natural gas liquefaction facility and export terminal in Coos Bay. Construction of a 230-mile pipeline that will connect the terminal with natural gas supplies in the inland West is being proposed as well.
The companies filed a “request for a rehearing” with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Friday.
In early March, FERC denied the project, saying backers didn’t prove there was a market for the fuel. Consequently, the benefit of the project did not outweigh the negative impacts to private landowners in its path.
Environmental groups cheered the decision, as did some local landowners who fear their property will be taken through eminent domain to make way for the pipeline.
But since the March 11 denial, Jordan Cove has announced preliminary sales deals with two Japanese companies.
“That certainly indicates there’s commercial interest and a market for the capacity and for the project itself,” said Williams spokesman George Angerbauer.
Federal regulators have several options in front of them. They can grant or deny a rehearing or extend the process timeline. They have 30 days to respond.
Despite the FERC denial of the project, the companies have continued moving forward with plans. In addition to pursuing LNG customers abroad, Versen said it has lined up several firms stateside who are interested in using the Pacific Connector Pipeline, which would cross four Oregon counties before linking up with another natural gas line on the Oregon-California border.
Backers also continue to pursue right-of-way deals with private landowners in the proposed pipeline’s path – and state permits needed for the project to move forward.
“Through the request for rehearing and this new information, I think that we continue to move forward with that project,” said Jordan Cove spokesman Michael Hinrichs. “And therefore we would like other agencies to continue moving forward with theirs until FERC reconsiders the project.”
These other agencies are where opponents of the project are focusing their most recent organizing efforts. On Tuesday, anti-LNG groups plan to travel to Salem and attend the State Land Board meeting.
“This FERC denial actually gives the state some good guidance for their own denials,” said No LNG organizer Apple Goeckner.
The Department of State Lands is considering easement and a “removal-fill” request from the project. No discussion is planned on the State Land Board’s meeting agenda.
Goeckner said she believes that federal regulators will hold their ground and stick with the original denial. But they aren’t taking any chances.
“We believe for this thing to be dead, we would like the state denials as well,” she said.