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Controversial Southern Oregon Energy Project Clears Big Hurdle

A digital visual rendition of the Jordan Cove liquified natural gas terminal proposed in Coos Bay, Ore.
An artist's rendering of part of the proposed Jordan Cove LNG terminal in Coos Bay.

A federal environmental review has given a preliminary green light to a fiercely contested proposal to build a natural gas pipeline and export terminal in Southern Oregon.

A draft environmental impact statement released Friday lists more than 130 conditions the Jordan Cove Energy Project would have to meet to minimize its negative effects. As long as those conditions are observed, the report says, the project would not have significant environmental impact.

The Jordan Cove project would pipe natural gas from Klamath County near the California border, more than 200 miles to a new liquefied natural gas export facility in Coos Bay on the Oregon coast.

Jordan Cove’s Tasha Cadotte said the company is confident it will meet the approval criteria set by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

"We are committed to protecting the environment and meeting all of state and federal requirements," she said. "We will continue to work with landowners and communities on the important issues to them."

 Cadotte said her company pledges to be a good neighbor. But many southern Oregonians have been skeptical. The proposed pipeline extension and LNG facility have faced years of fierce opposition from community groups, tribes and affected landowners.

This is the third time project backers have tried to get approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Allie Rosenbluth, with the environmental group Rogue Climate, says the third time should definitely not be the charm.

"This project has been denied twice by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission," she said. "And it’s very clear that this project still impacts our watersheds, our forests and our climate, and that it should be denied again."

A public comment period extends to July 5 and public hearings are expected to be scheduled this spring.

Pembina, the Canadian-owned company behind the Jordan Cove project, hopes to make a final investment decision on the project by next January.