FERC rejects Jordan Cove LNG project

COOS BAY — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has denied Jordan Cove Energy Project's permit to operate a pipeline to carry natural gas through southwestern Oregon to a terminal on the Oregon Coast, according to a story published today on the website of The World newspaper (theworldlink.com).

The terminal was the cornerstone of a controversial project to run the natural gas line from Malin to Coos Bay, where it would connect with the terminal. From there, liquefied natural gas would be exported by ship.

Issued Friday, the 25-page ruling cited the project's adverse impact on landowners with little evidence to support the need for a pipeline.

The Pacific Connector Pipeline would have run through about 157 miles of privately owned lands, consisting of approximately 630 landowners.

Landowners cited negative economic impacts such as land devaluation, loss of tax revenue and economic harm to business operations. While there was strong support for the project in Coos Bay, opposition formed along the proposed route of the pipeline, including in Jackson County.

Finding not enough evidence of a public benefit, FERC denied the application to construct a pipeline, The World's story said. Without the pipeline, Jordan Cove would not be able to operate an LNG terminal to liquefy and export liquefied natural gas.

FERC said the two companies proposing the plan could reapply in the future and the commission would reconsider their proposal if they could demonstrate "a market need" for the project.

Ron Saddler, one of the project's more vocal opponents, told The World FERC could not just ignore the impact the project would have had.

"Going back 12 years now, it's been obvious FERC has been trying to evade the requirements of the National Environmental (Policy) Act," Sadler said. "When they published their EIS, in great deal it was evident their EIS was legally insufficient, in my opinion. Now what has finally happened is they are aware of their shortcomings and decided to back off the project."

One of the leaders of the Boost Southwest Oregon group that’s advocated for this project, Mark Wall, said his group was, understandably, disappointed. But he was not about to declare defeat.

“This is just a bump in the road,” Wall told The World Friday afternoon. “The project’s not dead. This is not a deal killer.”

Rep. Peter DeFazio, who was in Coos Bay Friday to hold a Small Ports Round Table, declined to comment, stating he wanted time to review the ruling.

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