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FERC Denies Permits For Jordan Cove, LNG Pipeline

Picture Veresen/overlay JPR

[Revised with Veresen response 3/12] The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission delivered a potentially fatal blow to a plan to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Coos Bay area.  On Friday, FERC denied permits for the Jordan Cove LNG Terminal and the Pacific Gas Connector pipeline proposed to run to it.

The Jordan Cove Terminal, proposed by the Canadian company Veresen, had been controversial from its introduction.  It was first proposed to import natural gas from overseas sources, but plans were withdrawn and resubmitted for an export terminal when the gas-fracking boom produced a surplus of domestic gas.

Boosters in the greater Coos Bay area wanted the jobs and income that the plant would have brought.  Opponents focused their ire on the 230-mile pipeline that would have run from the Klamath Falls area to the terminal, crossing public and private land and many streams.

Ultimately, the pipeline proved to be the undoing of the project.  FERC's ruling denied the pipeline permit first, "because the record does not support a finding that the public benefits of the [pipeline] outweigh the adverse effects on landowners."

Two pages later, the ruling denies the permit for the export terminal, "because the record does not support a finding that the Jordan Cove LNG Terminal can operate to liquefy and export LNG absent the [pipeline]..."

LNG project opponents rejoiced online, especially in social media.  Southern Oregon Climate Action Now called the news "amazing."

"Extremely surprised and disappointed" was the initial response from Veresen.  CEO Don Althoff said Veresen and pipeline partner Williams would file a request for a rehearing of the FERC decision. 

Geoffrey Riley is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has hosted the Jefferson Exchange on JPR since 2009. He's been a broadcaster in the Rogue Valley for more than 35 years, working in both television and radio.