The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced last week it would reconsider its conditional permit for the Jordan Cove Energy Project and Pacific Connector Pipeline.

The viability of the project is in question because the state has refused Pembina the environmental permits that were required under the conditions of the FERC permit.

But given the long history of setbacks for the pipeline developers that have failed to end the project for good, landowners in the proposed pipeline’s path — many of whom have been fighting the project for more than a decade — are uncertain whether it’s time to celebrate just yet.

Sandy Lyon, whose Days Creek ranch lies in the proposed pipeline’s path, said she would love to see the project denied or, even better, for the company to pull out and end the project for good. But there’s a limit to how hopeful she can be at this point.

“They’ve been denied, turned down, withdrawn and next year they come back, so my husband and I quit breaking out the champagne,” she said.

She said she’s taking it day by day at this point.

“We’re thankful for the years we have that it’s been put off,” she said.

Landowner Stacey McLaughlin said she’s not counting any chickens before they hatch, either.

“I don’t want to presume anything with this pipeline, because we just don’t know. We never know,” she said.

Until the permit is taken away, she said, she won’t be able to relax.

The project would involve creating a 36-inch pipeline that would cross 229 miles in four southwestern Oregon counties, including Douglas County, to transport natural gas to a Jordan Cove liquefaction plant in Coos Bay. From there, the gas would be loaded onto ships for export to Asian markets.

The FERC decision to review its permit for the project came in the wake of a group of lawsuits from opponents, including landowners and the state of Oregon, among others.

These called for FERC’s conditional permit to be overturned. Among their arguments were that the facility would impact private property rights, the resources of Native American tribes and the environment. Opponents also argued the project is not in the public interest.

A top concern for many landowners is that authorization of the project would empower the developers to use eminent domain to seize their property, or at least the portions of the property on and around where the pipeline would be laid. Such a move could be allowed on the basis of the project being in the public interest, but opponents have argued for years that it is not, since the intention is to export the natural gas rather than offer it to American consumers.

The developers have said the project would bring permanent jobs at the terminal in Coos Bay and temporary jobs laying the pipeline.

The company has until Dec. 1 to submit briefs to FERC about whether the project should be authorized, and opponents will have until Dec. 15 to reply.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

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(11) comments

melrosereader

When the May ballot arrives in the mail be sure to remember that Freeman and Boice- after receiving campaign donations from Jordan Cove- defied the overwhelming voice of their constituents in approving Jordan Cove project.

Recall that Douglas County voters, in the 2006 ballot initiative Measure 39 that prohibits the government from condemning property from one private party (by eminent domain) on behalf of another private party, voted overwhelmingly for the measure (78% in favor) even as the initiative passed in the state by 67% of the voters.

Boice and Freeman could give a (fill in the blank) about their constituents. Time to throw the bums out..

C Boice

That is absolutely false. I have never taken campaign contributions from Jordan Cove or anyone else related to the Pipeling, and the Commissioners do not approve their application. That is done by the Planning Commission. Facts matter.

Mike

Facts do matter. Commissioner Freeman supported this project and according to the Secretary of State, you took money from Commissioner Freeman. The Planning Commission does nothing without your approval for fear they will be removed from their Commission position like several other Committee and Commission members you removed for voting against your wishes.

E.V. Debs

The day s of industry domination of the EPA and Trump climate denialists is over, for this presidential term anyway.

Mike

During a 3 ½-hour hearing on October 28, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia appeared skeptical the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had justified its delegation of federal eminent domain power to acquire land for a pipeline that would not carry domestically produced gas or serve U.S. customers. The D.C. Circuit asked the FERC to explain why it was legal for the agency to delegate its federal eminent domain authority under the Natural Gas Act which pertains to eminent domain power for interstate pipelines but not international projects.

https://www.eenews.net/articles/court-grills-ferc-on-climate-eminent-domain-review-of-gas-project/

FERC’s order authorizing the Jordan Cove project was contingent upon getting key local and state permits. After failing to get those permits – and losing subsequent legal challenges to those denials - FERC asked Pembina on November 18 to “clarify” how it intends to move forward as the commission considers whether to suspend a permit for the pipeline to prevent property condemnations. Pembina has until December 15 to respond.

https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/natural-gas/111921-ferc-probes-future-of-jordan-cove-lng-as-it-mulls-suspending-pipeline-permit

Going back to 2015, Douglas County Commissioners asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to deny Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline the right to use eminent domain.

https://theworldlink.com/lng/douglas-county-asks-ferc-to-deny-eminent-domain/article_3f411b49-301b-56d6-9b5e-f8dcca48806e.html

That CHANGED in 2017 when Douglas County Commissioner Freeman threw his support behind the pipeline AFTER accepting payments from Jordan Cove that were later challenged by the Federal Election Commission.

https://www.heraldandnews.com/members/forum/guest_commentary/pipeline-would-build-the-economy-of-rural-oregon/article_b142f335-8ab5-5dbc-8e3d-fd5e9e8f4dcb.html

According to the Federal Election Commission (below link), Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman, an outspoken advocate for personal property rights and opposition to eminent domain, became a supporter of the pipeline project soon after Jordan Cove contributed $5,000 to Commissioner Freeman’s election campaign while ignoring County Codes that state, “the power of eminent domain should be used to acquire property only for public purposes.”

https://www.fec.gov/files/legal/murs/7512/7512_113.pdf

In 2019, Douglas County Commissioner Chris Boice, another self-proclaimed advocate for personal property rights and opposition to eminent domain, added his name to the list of supporters for the pipeline project.

https://www.westernwire.net/jordan-cove-project-seeks-oregon-state-lands-approval-gains-support/

In late 2019, Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Johnson found Douglas County Commissioners violated the law by issuing a permit extension on Dec. 20, 2016 and again on Dec. 8, 2017 after the original permit expired on Dec. 10, 2016. Johnson’s decision nullifies all previous county conditional land use permits for the pipeline, including one issued on Dec. 11, 2018. As usual, County Commissioners Chris Boice and Tim Freeman refused to comment.

https://www.nrtoday.com/news/environment/jordan_cove/douglas-county-court-nullifies-key-jordan-cove-energy-project-permit/article_c7b49d1d-3e3e-507c-857b-fa56d8b995a4.html

CitizenJoe

Fire. Them. All.

These County Commissioners all have challengers in the May election. Vote for anyone except the current commissioners.

Douglas County deserves better.

Mike

Commissioner Boice swung his support FOR the pipeline following a $1,000 contribution to the Friends of Chris Boice FROM the Friends of Tim Freeman campaign fund.

Mike

Jordan Cove donated $5,000 to Friends of Tim Freeman on May 4, 2018. Friends of Tim Freeman donated $1,000 to Friends of Chris Boice on August 19, 2018. Commissioner Boice changed his position to support the Jordan Cove pipeline project after being paid off by Commissioner Tim Freeman.

https://secure.sos.state.or.us/orestar/cneSearch.do?cneSearchButtonName=search&cneSearchFilerCommitteeId=11927&OWASP_CSRFTOKEN=BZQ1-GHYM-21JE-QVOX-0QBA-YLFJ-LM11-6NQX

C Boice

I never took campaign contributions from anyone related to this project and I have never said that I support or oppose the project. I support the approval process and I oppose the use of eminent domain. Those are and have always been my positions on the project.

Mike

Commissioner Freeman supported this project and according to the Secretary of State, you took money from Commissioner Freeman.

familyfarm

That's like saying "I fully support eating huge amounts of bacon at every meal but I am opposed to an unhealthy diet." Support of the one pretty much guarantees the other.

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