THE LONG AND TWISTED TALE OF JORDAN COVE
For fifteen years people across Southern Oregon have been fighting a proposed Liquid Natural Gas terminal in Coos Bay and its companion 36″ pipeline that would transport fracked gas across four counties in Southern Oregon. The 229-mile Pacific Connector fracked gas pipeline would cross more over 400 rivers and streams on its way to the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal at the Port of Coos Bay. This massive export terminal would transform a still functioning estuarine ecosystem into an industrial-scale port, threatening the rich and diverse habitat of the bay, upon which wildlife and fisherman are dependent. The pipeline poses a significant threat to indigenous sovereignty and tribal treaty rights, human health, and planetary survival. Cultural resources, traditional tribal territories and burial grounds are threatened by both the pipeline route and the LNG export facility, along with waters and wildlife of current, historical, and spiritual importance to the Tribes. Nearly 500 landowners, whose property would be traversed by the pipeline route, are also threatened. The Canadian company, Pembina, who now owns the Jordan Cove project, is offering to pay landowners along the route for easements so that they can build the pipeline. If landowners refuse to sell, the company is threatening to seize their land through eminent domain.
Twice the Jordan Cove Export Terminal and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline seemed to be dead, when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied their permit. But twice Jordan Cove reapplied with a new application and the second time, right after Donald Trump was inaugurated, FERC went ahead allowed the permitting process to proceed. Since the Trump administration is making Jordan Cove’s construction one of their highest priorities, it is doubtful that this project will be denied by FERC. Now it is up to Oregon’s state regulatory process and local jurisdictions to deny the necessary state and local permits, that could stop Jordan Cove once and for all.
THREE STRIKES AGAINST JORDAN COVE – And a 4th maybe on the way!
On February 19, the State of Oregon denied the coastal zone permit for Jordan Cove LNG! This is the THIRD critical state permit for which Jordan Cove LNG has failed to qualify.
The Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) said that Jordan Cove LNG would have significant impacts to the coastal communities, commercial and recreational fishing, the climate, shipping, and more. In DLCD’s denial, it also asserted that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) could not move Jordan Cove LNG forward without the Coastal Zone permit. You can read more about the DLCD decision here.
The following day, FERC was scheduled to announce its decision on granting a permit to Jordan Cove LNG. While it was widely expected that they would rubber stamp approval for the project, instead they voted 2-1 against Jordan Cove LNG. Commissioner McNamee stated that FERC needed more time to review permit denials from the State of Oregon, including the previous night’s Coastal Zone permit denial, while Commissioner Glick said the project was not in the public interest. FERC will likely revisit the vote on Jordan Cove LNG, though no date has been set. Read more about the FERC decision here.
EXCITING NEWS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE LANDS!
On January 21, 2020, the Oregon Department of State Lands denied Jordan Cove LNG’s request for an extension on their interminably extended application for a removal/fill permit. Without that permit they cannot proceed with the project. Two days later Pembina (the company that owns Jordan Cove LNG) withdrew their permit application.
While this is great news for the people of Southern Oregon who have been fighting this project for 15 years, the struggle is not over yet. But it is a good sign that the State of Oregon has taken this step to uphold state laws that protect Oregonians and their land from being violated by a foreign corporation.
UPDATE in the midst of a pandemic
Just as Oregon was declaring a state of emergency in order to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, FERC met again and this time voted 2-1 to approve the permit for Jordan Cove LNG and the Pacific Connector Pipeline. Landowners and other activists around the state are dismayed that the Trump administration and the fossil fuel industry it represents would make this decision so negatively affecting so many lives at a time when we are all consumed with the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision illustrates once again that Pembina and Trump’s fossil fuel industry friends prioritize profits over lives.
On February 4 Jordan Cove LNG opponents held a press conference in front of the Department of State Lands to thank DSL for upholding Oregon environmental protections.
Watch a video of the press conference here: https://www.facebook.com/noLNGexports/videos/636213777128464/
Our friends at Southern Oregon Rising Tide released ‘What’s at
Stake: Mapping Jordan Cove & Pacific Connector’, a StoryMap about the
pipeline combining GIS data, pictures and data from our scouting trips,
and more to tell the story of what’s at stake on the ground where the
pipeline is proposed to run. Here’s a vivid tour of what the consequences of building the Pacific Connector Pipeline will be. Check it out here: http://arcg.is/01H1yW
On November 21, 2019 hundreds of opponents of the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline held a rally at the Oregon State Capitol to call on Governor Brown to come out publicly against this project. After the rally hundreds of folks poured into the Capitol rotunda singing “We Have Got the Power.” While they sang, 85 impacted landowners, tribal members and their supporters staged a sit-in at the Governor’s office refusing to leave until Governor Brown agreed to their demand to stop Jordan Cove. She did speak by phone to the protesters and eventually spent 10 minutes answering questions in person, but she refused to take a stand. After more than nine hours 21 protesters were arrested.
Learn more about the work of the groups on the frontlines of the Pacific Northwest’s struggle against fracked gas: