science environment

Jordan Cove Decision Delayed By Feds After Oregon Denies Key Permit

By Kimberley Freda (OPB) and Jes Burns (OPB)
Portland, Ore. Feb. 20, 2020 3:48 p.m.

UPDATE (Feb. 20, 5:34 p.m. PT) – Federal energy regulators have once again delayed their decision on the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas terminal and pipeline project. At a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission meeting Thursday morning, commissioners voted 2-1 not to move the project forward.

The delay followed a decision Wednesday by the state of Oregon to deny a permit that state officials say is necessary for the project to move forward.

A view of Coos Bay from a spot where Jordan Cove LNG terminal ship will be excavated, if approved by regulators.

A view of Coos Bay from a spot where Jordan Cove LNG terminal ship will be excavated, if approved by regulators.

Jes Burns / OPB

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission member Bernard McNamee said he wanted to give his agency more time to review Oregon's permit decision. It’s unclear when the commission will consider the project again, but McNamee said he would be ready to vote next week.

In a letter to Canadian-owned Pembina Pipeline Corp., the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development pointed to the proposed project's negative impact on "Oregon's coastal scenic and aesthetic resources, a variety of endangered and threatened species, critical habitat and ecosystem services, fisheries resources, commercial and recreational fishing and boating, and commercial shipping and transportation, among other sectors critical to the state" as the reason for the denial.


DLCD coastal policy specialist Heather Wade says Jordan Cove’s failure so far to get two other permits from the Oregon Department of State Lands and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality also weighed heavily in the agency’s decision to deny the Coastal Zone permit.

“This is the first major objection [the development agency] has seen in a long time,” Wade said.

In the letter,  Oregon's Department of Land Conservation and Development said that with its objection "neither FERC nor the (Army Corps of Engineers) can grant a license or permit for this project unless the U.S. Secretary of Commerce overrides this objection on appeal."

Opponents of the Jordan Cove project say they are excited by the latest developments.

“The state of Oregon has made it clear that the Jordan Cove LNG project does not meet its standards, and they stood up to protect our clean water, our clean air and our climate,” said Allie Rosenbluth of Rogue Climate.

Pembina now has 30 days to appeal the state permit decision. Jordan Cove spokesman Paul Vogel issued a statement that said the company received the state's letter late Wednesday "and like the FERC, we are taking our time to review it now. We respect the Commissioners' thoughtful consideration and look forward to their final decision at their next opportunity."

The proposed 229-mile natural gas pipeline would span from Malin, Oregon, in Klamath County to a proposed export terminal in Coos Bay, Oregon.