© 2024 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
Listen | Discover | Engage a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Latest Jordan Cove Move Raises Questions About The Project

Alex Derr/OSCC

UPDATED Jan. 27, 9:45 a.m. … The Jordan Cove Energy Project has abruptly withdrawn its application for a key permit from the state of Oregon, raising questions about the proposal's future.

In a letter dated January 23rd, the project told the Oregon Department of State Lands that the company was withdrawing the application effective the next day.

This is at least the second time Jordan Cove has withdrawn its application for a permit that would allow the company to disturb wetlands and waterways to build the project. In 2017, a previous owner dropped a three-and-a-half year effort to get the same permit.

Pembina is the Canadian company that’s behind the latest effort to build the liquefied natural gas export terminal and 229 mile long pipeline across southwest Oregon. Pembina says new demands for information from other Oregon agencies made it impossible for the company to meet the Department of State Lands’ latest deadline on Jan. 31. The deadline for the most recent application had already been extended four times.

It’s not immediately clear what the withdrawal means for the Jordan Cove project. Ali Ryan Hansen, with the Department of State Lands, says the company needs the so-called “removal-fill” permit for dredging in Coos Bay, as well as for the pipeline’s hundreds of waterway and wetland crossings. Now, if the company wants to do that work, Hansen says, they’ll have to start the application all over again.

“It would be the same process, but with the Department of State Lands evaluating the information submitted just as stringently as we would for a brand new application,” she says.

Opponents of the project applauded the latest development in a saga that’s been going on, in one form or another, for more than a decade.

“It’s a huge step backwards for Jordan Cove,” says Hannah Sohl, with the environmental group Rogue Climate. “To build this project, they have to get those permits.”

But Jordan Cove’s Paul Vogel says the company is looking ahead.

“Having received all local land use permits,” he wrote in an email, “the next major milestone in Jordan Cove’s regulatory process will be the final determination by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on February 13, 2020, at which time we will determine our path forward.”

If FERC gives Jordan Cove a green light, the company may argue that federal approval overrides Oregon environmental law. In that case, the outcome may ultimately lie with the courts.

Vogel declined to discuss that question, for now. But he wrote he “should be able to in the foreseeable future.”

Liam Moriarty has been covering news in the Pacific Northwest for three decades. He served two stints as JPR News Director and retired full-time from JPR at the end of 2021. Liam now edits and curates the news on JPR's website and digital platforms.