A federal commission has potentially revived a liquified natural gas pipeline project that would run through Oregon and Douglas County.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted a pre-filing review process for the Jordan Cove Energy Project, despite having denied the project’s application twice last year. Developers hope to begin construction in 2019.
This pre-filing review process means the developers can file their applications with FERC again, which they plan to do by August, according to FERC documents.
FERC denied the initial proposal for the 233-mile liquefied natural gas pipeline in March 2016, and again denied developers’ request for a rehearing in December. The pipeline project has been in the works since 2004.
While FERC is an independent body, its members are appointed by the president. The five-member board voted unanimously to reject the project during the Obama Administration.
President Donald Trump has made it clear that he will be more sympathetic to oil and gas companies, particularly since he revived the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL Pipeline in the first days in office.
A few changes have been made since the previous filing. Oklahoma-based Williams Pipeline Company is no longer involved in the project, leaving Canadian company Veresen the sole developer. The project would still involve creating a pipeline to connect with an existing pipeline at Malin. The pipeline would traverse four counties en route to a new liquefaction plant called Jordan Cove that would be built in Coos Bay. Those counties are Douglas, Klamath, Jackson and Coos.
From there, the liquefied gas would be transported via ship to Asian markets. An absence of sufficient markets was key to FERC’s decision to reject the project in December.
FERC’s March 11 denial order says developers failed to prove the project’s benefits would outweigh the detriments to landowners. At the time, the companies had yet to enter into binding agreements with potential customers. They have since entered preliminary agreements with two Japanese companies.
There will be several other boxes to check before developers can begin construction. In addition to getting the go-ahead from FERC, they will need permits for construction through 7 miles of Douglas County wetlands. They will also need to purchase rights-of-way from property owners, which they can obtain through eminent domain.
The chief executive officer of Jordan Cove LNG, Betsy Spomer, was pleased to hear that the application process is alive once again.
“We have invested more than a decade in optimizing the engineering design and minimizing our environmental footprint through scientific analysis and community feedback,” she said in a company press release. “We are confident Jordan Cove will be permitted and contribute significant direct and indirect benefits to southern Oregon.”
County resident Stacey McLaughlin, of Round Prairie, has been fighting against efforts to build this pipeline for several years.
“These people are like vengeful zombies,” she said, regarding FERC’s most recent decision. “They just keep coming back for more. I can tell you about landowners impressions: nothing has changed for us. We are not going to cooperate. We are not going to enter into easements. We are not going to support the project.”