In an unexpected turn of events, the feds have put the Jordan Cove project into limbo, at least for the time being.
The project calls for a 230 mile liquefied natural gas pipeline across southern Oregon, and a complementary terminal facility near Coos Bay that would ship natural gas to eastern Asian markets.
OREGON DENIED HEAVILY CRITICIZED PROJECT: The Jordan Cove project has received no small amount of criticism since its inception – some of which has been covered by the Advocate. Most notably, the Department of Land Conservation and Development put out a letter on February 19, stating that it could not allow the project to continue. The letter cited failures to “establish consistency with specific enforceable policies,” along with the project’s failure to obtain essential permits for operation.
HERE’S WHAT THE FED DID LAST WEEK: Oregon’s action prompted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is in charge of authorizing onshore liquified natural gas facilities, to vote 2-1 against approving the Jordan Prove project. This was somewhat against character for the FERC, who have been approving many similar LNG projects as of late.
The decision revolved around Commissioner Bernard McNamee. Though usually a supporter of LNG projects, McNamee was one of the two who voted against the project. However, this doesn’t mean that the project has been denied – simply that McNamee wished to give his committee time to properly review the reasoning behind Oregon’s decision to deny the permit.
“I want to see what the state of Oregon said,” stated McNamee. “It needs to be considered carefully.”
Following this comment, Commission Chair Neil Chatterjee stated that “Today’s vote is not a denial. The application remains pending.” Chatterjee has been known to be wholly in favor of authorizing the project.
FEDS COULD OK PROJECT THIS WEEK: Though McNamee said that he expected to be able to vote as soon as this week, it’s unknown when the FERC will reconvene on the Jordan Cove project. Pembina, the company behind the project, stated that they would wait for the FERC’s decision before determining the project’s future.
So until then, everything remains in stasis.
By Thomas Nguyen