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Environment, Energy and Transportation

Feds Deal A Hard Blow To Jordan Cove Project


Federal energy regulators Tuesday denied an effort by the Jordan Cove Energy Project to sidestep the State of Oregon’s denial of a key permit. The ruling casts serious doubt on the project’s viability.

For well over a decade, successive owners have tried to build a 229 mile-long natural gas pipeline and coastal shipping facility in southwest Oregon.

Pembina, the Calgary-based energy company behind the current iteration of the Jordan Cove project, got overall approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last year. But the state has withheld several key permissions, saying the company couldn’t show the project would meet water quality and other environmental standards.

In May, 2019, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality denied the Jordan Cove project a permit under the Clean Water Act. Last year, Jordan Cove asked federal energy regulators to rule that the state lacked the authority to do that.

On Tuesday, FERC unanimously rejected that request.

Allie Rosenbluth, with the environmental group Rogue Climate, says the decision is perhaps the final victory in the 15-year battle to stop Jordan Cove, which has been fiercely opposed by conservationists, affected landowners and tribes.

"The company would need to reapply for numerous state, local and federal permits to ever build the project," she says, "So, this is a really big win and a clear signal that Jordan Cove isn’t going to happen.”

Andrew Hawley is an attorney with the non-profit Western Environmental Law Center, which opposes Jordan Cove. He says the ruling reaffirms the state’s power to weigh in on federal environmental permits.

"It’s very clear in the law that the state not only has a significant role to play here, but actually can decide that in some instances, projects are just too harmful to its waters and its communities," he says.

This is one of several crucial permits Jordan Cove needs to build the project.

Company officials didn’t respond to a request for comment. But now that their effort to bypass state authority has been shot down, whether the project can be built is in question.