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Oregon Considers Jordan Cove's Dredging Permits

Jes Burns, OPB/EarthFix
The site proposed for the Jordan Cove LNG terminal.

A proposed natural gas pipeline and processing facility is at the center of a series of hearings in Southern Oregon starting Monday, Jan. 7.

The Canadian company Pembina has applied for what’s called a removal-fill permit for the Jordan Cove Energy Project. The permit allows the company to dredge waterways and wetlands.

The controversial project involves a 230-mile pipeline stretching from the Klamath Basin to the coast near North Bend. From there, a facility will liquefy natural gas, then ship it overseas.

The project has been in the works for years, lasting through a federal denial and a company buyout. Still, spokesman Michael Hinrichs says he’s feeling confident about the company’s chances of proceeding.

“We work diligently with the [government] agencies to make sure they have the information they need to come to an informed decision,” Hinrichs said. “I do believe, at the end of the day, we will receive our permits.”

Retired wildlife biologist Larry Mangan of North Bend says he’s concerned that the dredging will impair the region’s struggling salmon species.

“We’ve done a lot of restoration on our property for coho [salmon],” Mangan said. “And this dredging, this millions of cubic yards of dredging, is right on the bay that’s important to coho."

Pembina also needs to get rights-of-way from private landowners to build the pipeline. Hinrich said the company is trying its best not to resort to eminent domain.

“It’s an ongoing process,” Hinrich said. “It is long, we certainly know that. We acknowledge that. We think some landowners aren't engaging us now, but they might later. So our goal is 100 percent voluntary easement agreements.”

The removal-fill permit comment period ends Feb. 3 at 5 p.m. The Oregon Department of Lands is hosting a series of public hearings about the permit. They include:

  • Monday, Jan. 7 from 5:30-8 p.m. at Klamath Community College in Klamath Falls
  • Tuesday, Jan. 8 from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Jackson County Expo in Central Point
  • Wednesday, Jan. 9 from 5:30-8 p.m. at Seven Feathers Casino in Canyonville
  • Thursday, Jan. 10 from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Mill Casino in North Bend
  • Tuesday, Jan. 15 from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Department of State Lands, Land Board Room, 775 Summer St NE, in Salem

Visit the department's website to view the application or submit a comment online.

April Ehrlich is an editor and reporter at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Previously, she was a news host and reporter at Jefferson Public Radio.