Jordan Cove Energy Project officials are backtracking on claims made Monday about the number of landowners who have agreed to let the company build a proposed 229-mile natural gas pipeline built on their properties.
The pipeline would transport natural gas from existing pipelines in Malin to a proposed export terminal in Coos Bay.
Thirty-eight percent of the pipeline would cross private landowners’ properties. The majority of the landowners reside in Douglas County, according to Jordan Cove spokesman Paul Vogel.
On Monday, a press release from Pembina Pipeline Corp., the Canadian-based owner of the project, said the company had reached voluntary agreements with “82% of private landowners.”
The announcement came ahead of a series of public comment sessions this week for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s draft environmental impact statement.
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Landowners who have refused to sign agreements with Jordan Cove disputed the number released Monday. The News-Review asked Vogel to provide additional details about how the company determined the number.
“It’s not in terms of miles, it’s in terms of numbers of those individuals,” Vogel said Monday. “We don’t play loose with facts. This is a company that holds itself accountable and is accountable.”
On Wednesday, Vogel confirmed the number released Monday was inaccurate. In fact, 74% of landowners have signed agreements — 188 out of 252 — he said.
Vogel said 82% actually reflects the number of miles along the pipeline’s route where landowners have signed agreements.
“We have 82% of private landowner miles,” he said. The company reports to FERC the number of miles for which landowners have signed agreements, not the number of individual landowners, Vogel said.
Asked to comment on company officials’ misleading statements about the number, Vogel said, “I can understand people’s concern. It probably was a mistake to use that language.”
Securing agreements with landowners is key to the project’s final approval from FERC. The agency denied the project in 2016, stating there was little to no need for the project.
Vogel said another reason the project was denied in 2016 was the project’s former owner, Veresen Inc., failed to secure a sufficient number of agreements from landowners.
“Landowner support was too low,” Vogel said. “It was less than 20%.”
He said Jordan Cove’s commitment to addressing individual landowners’ concerns has allowed the company to reach its current number of agreements.
Compensation for landowners has ranged from $30,000 to more than $150,000, according to Douglas County landowner Stacey McLaughlin.
“This 82% is more than just a number,” said Harry Andersen, senior vice president for Pembina, in the Monday press release. “It represents a tremendous measure of progress forward for Jordan Cove.”